What is Cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle caused by damage to, or a change in, the heart muscle structure itself.
As a consequence, the heart muscle’s pumping ability is affected and other alterations of function may also take place.
Cardiomyopathy may present by:
- The symptoms it causes,
- An incidental finding during examinations or screening.
The patient may suffer profound psychological consequences, on being given the diagnosis.
Cardiomyopathy can be classified into 4 main types: -
- Dilated cardiomyopathy,
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy,
- Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC).
This is the most common form of cardiomyopathy. The muscle of the left ventricle, and sometimes the right ventricle, becomes weak and slack, so even though the heart is bigger ("enlarged" or "dilated") it cannot pump as effectively.
In this type of cardiomyopathy, the walls of the heart become thickened (hypertrophy) and stiff. The heart does not fill properly, and this may lead to heart failure, and in some people there is obstruction to the outflow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta, leading to symptoms on exertion. There may be leaking of the mitral valve of the heart.
There is a small risk of sudden death, which varies from patient to patient.
This is a rare condition and causes “stiffness” of the heart because of a stiffening of the walls of the ventricles. This impedes filling of the heart. Many of the features of restrictive cardiomyopathy are similar to those of hypertropic cardiopathy.
This disease has been recently acknowledged and is a disease of the heart muscle which usually affects the right ventricle more then the left ventricle. Heart muscle cells are replaced by scarring and fat cells. The right ventricle usually becomes weakened and arrhythmias may occur.
In some forms of cardiomyopathy, clots form in the heart, and may break off and travel to other parts of the body (as emboli). If an embolus blocks a blood vessel to the brain, a stroke may result.
If evidence suggests that the customer has heart failure, which may have resulted from cardiomyopathy then follow Heart Failure guidance.
If evidence suggests that the customer has had a stroke, which may have resulted from valvular heart disease then follow Stroke guidance.