Marie's Postpartum Cardiomyopathy Story

Marie Domingo never got to experience the first few weeks of bonding with her newborn daughter. Instead, she was in an induced coma after suddenly developing end-stage heart failure.

The mum of one from NSW was on life-support for weeks and had to undergo a heart transplant just a few weeks after giving birth in October 2018. It was an incredibly surreal time she says, and one that has made her relish every moment with her daughter Faith.

Marie, who lives near Maitland in NSW, started to feel unwell with the flu a few weeks before giving birth but had no idea she was suffering from postpartum cardiomyopathy, a rare disease that causes the heart’s left ventricle to become dangerously enlarged and weakened.

Eventually, she finally went to the hospital and a few hours later had an emergency c-section. After giving birth to Faith, she was told her organs were shutting down with end-stage heart failure and she needed a heart transplant.

Marie in hospital

After being transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, she crashed soon after arriving in Emergency and was placed in an induced coma for six weeks.

“This was the time I should have been bonding with my daughter and instead I was fighting for my life. The doctors did an amazing job of fighting to keep me alive, and I owe them everything. It was really touch and go as to whether I would make it,” says Marie.

She was in and out of hospital until undergoing a heart transplant in April 2019.

Since then, Marie, 37, has suffered pneumonia and like many heart transplant survivors has had to battle her body rejecting her new heart. “I’m on very high immunosuppressant medication and in those first few weeks and months had to undergo many biopsies to keep an eye on how my heart was doing.” She says.

She’s incredibly thankful for a new MRI technique developed by the Institute’s Associate Professor Andrew Jabbour.

Marie adds: “It was very scary at first as you are awake, and the needle goes in through your neck. It’s also very uncomfortable and has left me with scars. I look like I’ve been attacked by a vampire.

“Having an MRI is so much better. I’d choose that any time of the day over having a biopsy.”


Read about Prof Jabbour's new virtual biopsy for heart transplant patientsLEARN MORE ABOUT heart transplantsDONATE TO heart RESEARCHread more heart patient stories

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal of the Eora nation, on which we meet, work, and discover.
Our Western Australian laboratories pay their respect to the Whadjuk Noongar who remain as the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land.

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