Cardiomyopathy (weakened heart dilated)

Chest | Cardiology | Cardiomyopathy (weakened heart dilated) (Disease)


Cardiomyopathy is the medical condition characterized by deterioration of the function of the heart muscle, called the myocardium for any reason. Cardiomyopathy makes it harder for the heart to pump blood and deliver it to the rest of the body, usually leading to heart failure.

Cardiomyopathies can be categorized as extrinsic when the pathology is outside the myocardium or intrinsic, not due to an identifiable external cause. There are three main types: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is usually inherited, dilated cardiomyopathy when the walls of the heart tend to balloon out under pressure and restrictive cardiomyopathy caused by scarring of the endocardium or by amyloidosis.

Symptoms and signs may mimic those of almost any form of heart disease. Chest pain is common, also palpitation, and fatigue, dizziness, swelling of the feet and arms and fainting. Having cardiomyopathy may lead to other heart conditions, including: blood clots, heart failure, cardiac arrest and sudden death.

Causes and Risk factors

Possible causes of cardiomyopathy include: long-term high blood pressure, heart valve problems, heart tissue damage from a previous heart attack, chronic rapid heart rate, metabolic disorders like Thyroid disease or Diabetes, nutritional deficiencies of essential vitamins or minerals, such as thiamin (vitamin B-1), selenium, calcium and magnesium, pregnancy, excessive use of alcohol over many years, abuse of cocaine or antidepressant medications, use of some chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer, certain viral infections, iron buildup in your heart muscle (hemochromatosis) and genetic conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Investigation includes tests as: chest x-ray, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG), MRI, and blood tests.

The goal of treatment is often symptom relief, it depends on the type of cardiomyopathy, may include medication or iatrogenic/implanted pacemakers for slow heart rates and defibrillators. Some patients may eventually require a heart transplant.

Prevention includes avoiding alcohol and smoking, having a good nutrition, exercising and maintaining a normal weight. ...