I was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy and CHF after the birth of my second child in July of 1997. I'm not sure when this all started but I felt shortness of breath the week before my child was born. My OB doc at the time assured me that it was due to pregnancy. I had complained of palpitations since 1991 but was told it was nothing and to ignore it by many doctors. My primary doctor told me I had pneumonia and then before I knew it, I was in labor and delivering my son. At the hospital, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and released 4 days later. I was back in the emergency room less than 12 hours later. I couldn't even breathe at that point. I was very critical and was in CCU for a week. This is when I met my cardiologist, who I believe is the one who saved me. My EF in the emergency room was 5% and my mitral valve leakage was at 5+!
With the proper medicines, I was stabilized and released a week later. My EF at that time was 25% and still is. . In November of 2000 I had to have open-heart surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve (I had a tear as well). It's been a slow process but I'm finally recovering. My EF is still at 25%, although I'm feeling much better, not as tired, fatigued. Both my cardiologist and my CHF specialist at Columbia Presbyterian have advised me due to the betablockers, my heart is now a normal size and much stronger. My VO2max test has improved from 21 to 26.