Cardiomyopathy

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), making it larger, thicker, and more rigid than normal, and in rare cases, scar tissue replaces the muscle tissue. In a cardiomyopathy, the heart loses its capacity of pumping blood efficiently. There is a deterioration of the function of the myocardium. Mild cardiomyopathy is frequently asymptomatic; severe cases are associated with heart failure, arrhythmias, and systemic embolization.

There are several types of cardiomyopathy: dilated, hypertrophic, takotsubo, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, etc. It can be ischemic and nonischemic. Ischemic is when there is inadequate oxygen delivery to the myocardium.

Treatment depends on the type of cardiomyopathy, but may include medication, implanted pacemakers, defibrillators, or ventricular assist devices (LVADs), or ablation. The goal of treatment is often symptom relief, and some patients may eventually require a heart transplant. Treatment of cardiomyopathy and other heart diseases using alternative methods such as stem cell therapy is commercially available but is not supported by convincing evidence.