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Cardiomyopathy

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Cardiomyopathy Guide

Christine Jeffries

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Cardiomyopathy Definition

Definition

Cardiomyopathy refers to heart muscle disease. The damaged heart does not effectively pump blood. The disease usually progresses to the point where patients develop life-threatening heart failure . In addition, people with cardiomyopathy are more likely to have irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias .

There are two major categories of cardiomyopathy: ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy. Ischemic cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle is damaged from heart attacks due to coronary artery disease . Nonischemic cardiomyopathy, the less common category, includes types of cardiomyopathy that are not related to coronary artery disease.

There are three main types of nonischemic cardiomyopathy:

  • Dilated—Damaged heart muscles lead to an enlarged, floppy heart. The heart stretches as it tries to compensate for weakened pumping ability.
  • Hypertrophic—Heart muscle fibers enlarge abnormally. The heart wall thickens, leaving less space for blood in the chambers. Since the heart does not relax correctly between beats, less blood fills the chamber and is pumped from the heart.
  • Restrictive—Portions of the heart wall become rigid and lose their flexibility. Thickening often occurs due to abnormal tissue invading the heart muscle.

Hypertrophic Heart

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