A Message From Our Founder.
Anner T. Porter is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in liberal studies. She resigns in California and Georgia. She is the mother of 2 adult children and a proud grandmother to a 10-year-old grandson name Jayden, a 6-year-old granddaughter named Juliana and a 4-year-old grandson name Sam. She has been living with postpartum cardiomyopathy for 25 years.
I have Postpartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM) since 1992, I had no idea what it was or why it was happening to me. It is still little to no information about what causes this disease.
I believe that women, pregnant or otherwise, should be armed with the right tools and knowledge so they can be aware of and reduce the rate of PPCM. Save a heart-save a life.
One of the most critical life-saving tests, as it pertains to PPCM, is quick, inexpensive, and is called the B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) blood test. My goal is to have, on a national level, all OB-GYN physicians perform this blood test on ALL pregnant women at the end of each trimester. It enables doctors to make the correct diagnosis where there is an instance of congestive heart failure (as I’ve stated, PPCM is a form of congestive heart failure). For the test, a substance taken from the ventricles or the lower chambers of the heart in response to changes in pressure that occur when heart failure develops or worsens.
The level of BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) in the blood increases when heart failure symptoms worsen and decreases when the heart failure condition is stable. If the results show the BNP levels are below 100pg/ml, then no heart failure is present. If the levels are from 100-299pg/ml, then heart failure is present. Levels above 300mg/ml but lower than 599 mg/ml show mild heart failure, levels above 600mg/ml, but below 899 mg/ml show moderate heart failure and above 900mg/ml shows severe heart failure.
Another test that can be run is Echocardiogram (ECG). It is a multi-dimensional ultrasound of the heart that determines how well your heart is pumping out blood. Unfortunately, this test is costly and is usually only done if your BNP is higher than 100pg/ml or if there is a history of family or personal heart disease.
The challenge out there is that patients and doctors sometimes dismiss early symptoms, for example, shortness of breath or swelling of ankles, because they appear to be typical of a healthy pregnancy. Yet, early detection and treatment are critically important to the patient with PPCM. Delays in the diagnosis and treatment of PPCM are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. That’s why it’s so critical to run a BNP test when any of the symptoms are present. It’s a way to save a young mother’s life. On a national level, having information about PPCM available in OB-GYN offices and giving it to all women will bring a higher level of awareness.
As a survivor that waged a long war against this condition, I need to educate every woman and OB-GYN in the world about Peripartum and Postpartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM).
Anner T. Porter
Anner T. Porter