- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 56 views
Cardiomyopathy (kahr-dee-o-my-OP-uh-thee) is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.
The main types of cardiomyopathy include dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Treatment — which might include medications, surgically implanted devices or, in severe cases, a heart transplant — depends on which type of cardiomyopathy you have and how serious it is.
There might be no signs or symptoms in the early stages of cardiomyopathy. But as the condition advances, signs and symptoms usually appear, including:
Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest
Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
Bloating of the abdomen due to fluid buildup
A cough while lying down
Heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
Chest discomfort or pressure
Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
Signs and symptoms tend to get worse unless treated. In some people, the condition worsens quickly; in others, it might not worsen for a long time.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have one or more signs or symptoms associated with cardiomyopathy. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have severe difficulty breathing, fainting or chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes.
Because some types of cardiomyopathy can be hereditary if you have it your doctor might advise that your family members be checked.
The goals of cardiomyopathy treatment are to manage your signs and symptoms, prevent your condition from worsening, and reduce your risk of complications. Treatment varies by which type of cardiomyopathy you have.
Your doctor might prescribe medications to improve your heart's pumping ability, improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate, remove excess fluid from your body or keep blood clots from forming.
Be sure to discuss possible side effects with your doctor before taking any of these drugs.
Surgically implanted devices
Several types of devices can be placed in the heart to improve its function and relieve symptoms, including:
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This device monitors your heart rhythm and delivers electric shocks when needed to control abnormal heart rhythms. An ICD doesn't treat cardiomyopathy, but watches for and controls abnormal rhythms, a serious complication of the condition.
Ventricular assist device (VAD). This helps blood circulate through your heart. VAD usually is considered after less-invasive approaches are unsuccessful. It can be used as a long-term treatment or as a short-term treatment while waiting for a heart transplant.
Pacemaker. This small device placed under the skin in the chest or abdomen uses electrical impulses to control arrhythmias.
Other procedures used to treat cardiomyopathy or arrhythmia include:
Septal ablation. A small portion of the thickened heart muscle is destroyed by injecting alcohol through a long, thin tube (catheter) into the artery supplying blood to that area. This allows blood to flow through the area.
Radiofrequency ablation. To treat abnormal heart rhythms, doctors guide long, flexible tubes (catheters) through your blood vessels to your heart. Electrodes at the catheter tips transmit energy to damage a small spot of abnormal heart tissue that is causing the abnormal heart rhythm.
Types of surgery used to treat cardiomyopathy include:
Septal myectomy. In this open-heart surgery, your surgeon removes part of the thickened heart muscle wall (septum) that separates the two bottom heart chambers (ventricles). Removing part of the heart muscle improves blood flow through the heart and reduces mitral valve regurgitation.
Heart transplant. You might be a candidate for a heart transplant if medications and other treatments are no longer effective and you have end-stage heart failure.