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:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy . The chambers of the heart enlarge and weaken. This type includes alcoholic cardiomyopathy and also peripartum cardiomyopathy, which can happen during or after pregnancy.
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy . The heart muscle gets stiff.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy . The heart muscle thickens and cannot relax properly.
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 syndrome, also called stress cardiomyopathy. With this syndrome, a heart chamber changes shape and cannot pump blood normally.
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.
Other Works Consulted
- Amsterdam EA, et al. (2014). 2014 AHA/ACC Guideline for the management of patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes. Circulation, 130(25): e344–e426. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000134. Accessed October 24, 2014.
- 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.
Current as of: December 15, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
George Philippides MD - Cardiology