Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy

What is cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy describes any disorder that affects the heart muscle, causing the heart to lose its ability to pump blood effectively. In some instances, the heart rhythm also becomes disturbed and leads to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). There may be multiple causes of cardiomyopathy, including viral infections and certain medications. Often, the exact cause of the muscle disease is never found.

How does cardiomyopathy differ from other heart disorders?

Cardiomyopathy differs from many of the other disorders of the heart in several ways, including the following:

What causes cardiomyopathy?

Viral infections that infect the heart are a major cause of cardiomyopathy. In some instances, cardiomyopathy is a result of another disease or its treatment, such as complex congenital (present at birth) heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, uncontrollable, fast heart rhythms, or certain types of chemotherapy for cancer. Sometimes, cardiomyopathy can be linked to a genetic abnormality. Other times, the cause is unknown. Three types of cardiomyopathy typically affect adults.

What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when the muscle of the left ventricle of the heart becomes thicker than normal, obstructing blood flow to the rest of the body. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can affect the heart's mitral valve, causing blood to leak backward through the valve.

What is dilated cardiomyopathy?

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most frequent form of nonischemic cardiomyopathy. The cavity of the heart becomes enlarged and stretched, compromising the heart's ability to pump normally:

What is restrictive cardiomyopathy?

Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the least common type of cardiomyopathy in the U.S., occurs when the heart muscle becomes excessively rigid and unable to fill with blood properly:

What is arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia?

ARVD is a rare type of cardiomyopathy that occurs if the muscle tissue in the right ventricle dies and is replaced by scar tissue:

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