Cardiomyopathy or Enlarged Heart

Chest | Cardiology | Cardiomyopathy or Enlarged Heart (Symptom)


Cardiomyopathy also known as heart muscle disease is the measurable deterioration of the function of the the heart muscle called myocardium, for any reason, usually leading to heart failure. It refers to any disease of the heart muscle that weakens the force of cardiac contractions, thereby reducing the efficiency of blood circulation.


Cardiomyopathies may have an infectious, metabolic, nutritional, toxic, autoimmune, or degenerative cause. However, in many cases the cause is unknown.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy include fatigue, chest pain, dyspnea, peripheral edema and palpitations. The condition may lead to heart failure, symptoms of which include breathing difficulty. There are three main types of cardiomyopathy.

(1)In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is usually inherited, the heart muscle is abnormally thickened.

(2) In dilated cardiomyopathy, metabolism of the heart muscle cells is abnormal and the walls of the heart tend to balloon out under pressure.

(3) Restrictive cardiomyopathy is caused by scarring of the endocardium (the inner lining of the heart) or by amyloidosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends on the type of cardiomyopathy, but may include medication or iatrogenic/implanted pacemakers for slow heart rates, defibrillators for those prone to fatal heart rhythms. Symptoms may be treated with diuretic drugs to control heart failure and antiarrhythmic drugs to correct abnormal heart rhythm. The goal of treatment is often symptom relief, and some patients may eventually require a heart transplant.