Cardiomyopathy

Definition

Cardiomyopathy is disease in which the heart muscle becomes weakened, stretched, or has another structural problem. It often occurs when the heart cannot pump or function well.

Most people with cardiomyopathy have heart failure.

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Causes

There are many types of cardiomyopathy, with different causes. Some of the more common ones are:

Treatment

When possible, the cause of cardiomyopathy is treated. Medicines and lifestyle changes are often needed to treat the symptoms of heart failure, angina and abnormal heart rhythms.

Procedures or surgeries may also be used, including:

Partially and fully implantable mechanical heart pumps have been developed. These may be used for very severe cases. However, not all people need or are able to have this advanced treatment.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook depends on many different things, including:

Heart failure is most often a long-term (chronic) illness. It may get worse over time. Some people develop severe heart failure. In this case, medicines, surgery, and other treatments may no longer help.

People with certain types of cardiomyopathy are at risk for dangerous heart rhythm problems.


Review Date: 5/16/2018
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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