One week after her second son was born, Bridget Dickey woke up breathless, sweating and had a feeling of heaviness on her chest. Her husband urged her to call her doctor, and then took her to an urgent care clinic. Soon after that, the clinic called for an ambulance to take Bridget immediately to the Chest Pain Center at MUSC—something was wrong with Bridget’s heart.
A series of tests confirmed that Bridget had peripartum cardiomyopathy—a disorder that occurs during the final month of pregnancy or within five months after delivery, and involves a weakened, enlarged heart that can’t pump blood efficiently. It occurs in one in every 1,400 to 4,000 deliveries, and can cause serious, long-term complications such as heart failure and even death.
Cardiologist Dr. Marian Taylor, Co-Director of the MUSC Women’s Heart Care Program, prescribed a number of medications and lifestyle modifications to treat Bridget, including a low-sodium diet and regular physical activity. One year later, Bridget has made a full recovery, though will need to continue her regimen of medication, diet, exercise and regular visits with Dr. Taylor.
Bridget is back to living a very busy life as a working mom of two young sons, and feels a new appreciation for her health, and her life.