Cardiomyopathy: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments

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Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of heart muscle disorders. These disorders may affect people of various ages and races and have a variety of causes, symptoms, and treatments.


What is cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes conditions of the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy causes scar tissue and stiffens, expands, or thickens your heart. Consequently, your heart is unable to effectively pump blood throughout your body.

Types of cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy, the most common type of cardiomyopathy, occurs when the heart muscle enlarges, or dilates, and becomes too weak to effectively pump blood. It may be inherited or the outcome of coronary artery disease.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

When your heart walls thicken and restrict blood from flowing through your heart, you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is thought to be inherited. This makes your heart rigid and puts you at risk for electrical problems. Acquired hypertension-related cardiomyopathy may be caused by long-term high blood pressure, age, diabetes, or thyroid illness.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)

Although this is an uncommon kind of cardiomyopathy, it is the primary cause of sudden mortality among young athletes. Fat and additional fibrous tissue replace the muscle of the right ventricle in this kind of hereditary cardiomyopathy. This leads to irregular cardiac rhythms and problems with the right ventricle’s function.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathythe means ventricles stiffen and can’t relax enough to fill up with blood. Possible reasons include heart disease, scarring of the heart, and cardiac amyloid, which is common after a heart transplant.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy

The following are some common symptoms:

  • Breathing problems
  • Chest discomfort, especially after strenuous exercise or a big meal
  • Tiredness that persists even after rest
  • Dizziness and passing out
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Murmurs in the heart (extra or unusual sounds heard during a heartbeat)

Vomiting, diarrhea, trouble eating and breathing, fussiness, and poor development are common in babies and young children.

In addition, You may have swelling in your stomach, hands, legs, and feet if your cardiomyopathy has caused heart failure. If you have cardiomyopathy while pregnant, you may have these symptoms as well.


Causes of cardiomyopathy

The reason for cardiomyopathy is often unknown. However, in some people, it is caused by another condition (acquired) or handed on from a parent (inherited).

The following are some of the health issues or activities that might lead to acquired cardiomyopathy:

  • Chronic high blood pressure
  • Heart tissue damage from a heart attack
  • Rapid heart rate over time
  • Problems with heart valves
  • Infection with COVID-19
  • Certain infections, particularly those that induce heart irritation
  • Obesity, thyroid illness, and diabetes are examples of metabolic diseases.
  • Essential vitamins and minerals, such as thiamin, are deficient in the diet (vitamin B-1)
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • The accumulation of iron in the cardiac muscle (hemochromatosis)
  • Granulomas are small lumps of inflammatory cells that can develop anywhere in the body, including the heart and lungs (sarcoidosis)
  • Aberrant protein accumulation in the tissues (amyloidosis)
  • Disorders of connective tissue
  • Many years of excessive alcohol consumption
  • Cocaine, amphetamines, and anabolic steroids use
  • Chemotherapy medicines and radiation


Cardiac catheterization 

Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic and treatment procedure for some heart problems. A catheter, a long, thin, flexible tube, is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm, groin, upper thigh, or neck during cardiac catheterization. After that, the catheter is threaded to your heart.

Heart biopsy

Some kinds of cardiomyopathy are diagnosed by a cardiac biopsy, also known as a myocardial biopsy. Your doctor will take a little portion of your heart muscle for this test to check for symptoms of cardiomyopathy. This can be accomplished via a cardiac catheterization procedure.

Blood test

Several blood tests, including those to examine kidney, thyroid, and liver function as well as iron levels, may be performed.

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), a protein produced in the heart, can be measured with a simple blood test. BNP levels in the blood may rise as a result of heart failure, which is a typical consequence of cardiomyopathy.

Coronary angiography

Coronary angiography is a procedure that uses a contrast dye, usually containing iodine, and X-ray images to detect plaque-caused blockages in the coronary arteries. Your heart is deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients due to blockages.

This treatment is used to diagnose heart problems or to follow up on aberrant results from tests like an electrocardiogram (EKG) or a stress test. Coronary angiography can help your doctors arrange your therapy if you’re having a heart attack.



Heart drugs can help with blood flow, symptom control, and treating underlying issues. Blood thinners like warfarin, beta-blockers like propranolol, and cholesterol-lowering medicines are also options.

Septal ablation

Alcohol is injected by a long, thin tube (catheter) into the artery giving blood to a small part of the thickened heart muscle. This permits blood to flow freely throughout the affected area.

Radiofrequency ablation

Long, flexible tubes (catheters) are guided via blood veins to the heart to treat abnormal heart rhythms. The catheter tips have electrodes that send electricity to a small patch of cardiac tissue that is generating abnormal heart rhythm.

Correct arrhythmias

Interrupted cardiac rhythms are treated using pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). These gadgets keep track of your heartbeat. When an arrhythmia occurs, they send electrical impulses to your heart.

Improve blood flow

Some gadgets aid in the efficient pumping of blood by the heart. The contractions between the left and right sides of the heart are controlled using cardiac resynchronization treatment (CRT) devices. Your heart is assisted in pumping blood with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).


Several types of surgeries to treat cardiomyopathy include:

  • Septal myectomy: A physician removes part of the thicker heart muscle wall (septum) that separates the two bottom heart chambers during this open-heart surgery (ventricles). The removal of a portion of the heart muscle increases blood flow and lowers mitral valve regurgitation. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is treated with septal myectomy.
  • Heart transplant: People with end-stage heart failure for whom medicines and other therapies have failed may benefit from a heart transplant.


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