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Cardiomyopathy

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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Images

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Dilated cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Peripartum cardiomyopathy

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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.

Related Information

Heart attack
Dilated cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Peripartum cardiomyopathy
Restrictive cardiomyopathy
Heart failure - overview
Heart transplant
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
Heart failure - what to ask your doctor

References

Falk RH and Hershberger RE. The dilated, restrictive, and infiltrative cardiomyopathies. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2018:chap 77.

McKenna WJ, Elliott P. Diseases of the myocardium and endocardium. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 60.

McMurray JJV, Pfeffer MA. Heart failure: management and prognosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 59.

O'Connor CM, Rogers JG. Heart failure: pathophysiology and diagnosis. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 58.

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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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