- Dilated—Damaged heart muscles lead to an enlarged, floppy heart. The heart stretches as it tries to make up for a weakened ability to pump.
- Hypertrophic—Heart muscle fibers enlarge abnormally. The heart does not relax correctly between beats. The heart wall thickens, leaving less space for blood to fill the chambers, so less blood is pumped from the heart.
- Restrictive—Parts of the heart wall stiffen. Thickening often occurs due to abnormal tissue invading the heart.
|Normal Heart and Heart With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy|
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- Ischemic heart disease with decreased blood flow to your heart
- Infections, usually viral
- Chronic exposure to toxins, including alcohol and some chemotherapy drugs
- A rare complication of pregnancy or childbirth (probably immune-related)
- Rarely, other illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or thyroid disease
- Inherited (sometimes present at birth but often developing in teens)
- Aging, associated with hypertension
- Shortness of breath, often worse when lying down or with activity
- Swelling in feet or legs
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Your doctor may need pictures of your chest. This can be done with:
- Tests may be done to determine how your heart functions. These can be done with:
- Your bodily fluids and tissue may need to be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood tests
- Heart biopsy
- Diuretics—To remove extra fluid
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors—To relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and decrease the heart's workload
- Angiotensin receptor blockers—Similar to ACE inhibitors
- Hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate—May be used with ACE inhibitors
- Digitalis—To slow and regulate heart rate, and slightly increase its force of contractions
- Beta-blockers—To slow the heart and limit disease progression
- Spironolactone—To improve outcome in people with dilated cardiomyopathy and advanced symptoms
- A pacemaker may be implanted to improve heart rate and pattern.
- For people with hypertrophic disease, doctors may remove part of the thickened wall that separates the heart's chambers. Surgery may be needed to replace a heart valve. Another option is alcohol septal ablation. This procedure reduces symptoms and improves how the heart functions.
- For those with life-threatening, irregular heart rhythms, a cardioverter defibrillator may need to be implanted.
- A heart transplant may be possible for otherwise healthy patients who do not respond to medical treatment. Candidates often wait a long time for a new heart. Those waiting may temporarily receive a ventricular assist device. This is a mechanical pump that takes over some of or most of the heart's pumping function.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
The Cardiomyopathy Association http://www.cardiomyopathy.org
Heart Rhythm Society http://www.hrsonline.org
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Braunwald E, Zipes DP, et al. Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2001.
Dilated cardiomyopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated February 22, 2012. Accessed January 24, 2013.
Echt DS, Packer D, et al. Multicenter unsustained tachycardia trial. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:1882-1890.
Heart Failure Society of America 2010 executive summary of heart failure practice guidelines. J Card Fail. 2010;16:475-539.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated November 16, 2012. Accessed January 24, 2013.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated January 20, 2012. Accessed January 24, 2013.
What is cardiomyopathy? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cm. Updated January 1, 2011. Accessed January 24, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 01/24/2013 -