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Cardiomyopathy

Topic Overview

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps. There are different types of cardiomyopathies. And these types have different causes. Cardiomyopathy may occur as a result of damage to the heart, such as from a heart attack, or a person may inherit the tendency to develop it.

What are the types?

Some types of cardiomyopathies are:

There are many other types of cardiomyopathy that can be classified by what causes the heart muscle problem. For example, inflammation of the heart muscle can cause inflammatory cardiomyopathy. A heart rhythm problem can cause tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy. A stressful event can cause takotsubo (stress) cardiomyopathy in which a heart chamber changes shape and cannot pump blood normally.

What happens?

For some cardiomyopathies, the changes in the heart muscle can lead to other heart problems such as heart failure. Heart failure means the heart cannot pump blood normally. When the heart cannot pump blood well, the rest of the body may not get enough blood, oxygen, or nutrients. Cardiomyopathy can also lead to other heart problems such as atrial fibrillation, which is a type of irregular heartbeat.

How is it treated?

Treatment for cardiomyopathy depends on the type of cardiomyopathy and the type of heart problems that occur as a result of the changes in the heart muscle. Treatment typically includes medicine and healthy lifestyle changes.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Maron BJ, Thiene G (2011). Classifications of cardiomyopathies. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's the Heart, 13th ed., vol. 1, pp. 813–820. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Sharkey SW, et al. (2011). Takotsubo (stress) cardiomyopathy. Circulation, 124(18): e460–e462.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised July 24, 2012

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