Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a weakness of the myocardium (heart muscle) due to inadequate oxygen delivery to the myocardium with coronary artery disease being the most common cause. Not supported by current cardiomyopathies classification schemes. "Ischemic" means that an organ, such as the heart, is not getting enough blood and oxygen. "Cardio" means heart and "myopathy" means muscle-related disease. Ischemic cardiomyopathy occurs when the arteries that bring blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked. There is usually a buildup of cholesterol and other substances, called plaque, in the arteries that bring oxygen to heart muscle tissue. Over time, the heart muscle does not work well, and it is more difficult for the heart to fill and pump blood to the body.

Ischemic cardiomyopathy symptoms include chest pain, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, etc. This heart condition diagnosed only if a test shows that the pumping function of the heart is too low. This is called a decreased ejection fraction. A normal ejection fraction is around 55 - 65%. Most patients with this disorder have ejection fractions much less than this. Ischemic cardiomyopathy can make people more likely to have heart failure and the symptoms and signs noted above when the ejection fraction is normal or near normal. This is due to the abnormal relaxation of the heart (impaired filling). This is sometimes called "diastolic heart failure" or "heart failure with preserved ejection fraction."

A cardiac catheterization might be done to see if you may benefit from coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery or a balloon procedure (angioplasty), which could improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle. The overall treatment of cardiomyopathies is focused on treating heart failure.