Dilated cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy - dilated; Primary cardiomyopathy; Diabetic cardiomyopathy; Idiopathic cardiomyopathy; Alcoholic cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is disease in which the heart muscle becomes weakened, stretched, or has another structural problem.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

There are many types of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common form, but it may be the result of different underlying conditions. Some health care providers use the term to indicate a specific condition, called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. There is no known cause for this type of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy overview

Cardiomyopathy, also known as myocardiopathy, is a condition that includes diseases of the heart muscle, resulting in abnormal heart function. It is a progressive impairment of the structure and function of the muscular walls of the heart chambers, and is distinguished from heart muscle impairment caused by hypertension, coronary atherosclerosis, valvular dysfunction, or abnormalities of the pericardium. Cardiomyopathy may be caused by many disorders, or it may be idiopathic (of unknown cause). The main types of cardiomyopathies are dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. Cardiomyopathies often cause symptoms of heart failure. Some cardiomyopathies may also cause chest pain, fainting, arrhythmia, or sudden death. Treatment of cardiomyopathies, in addition to lifestyle changes, includes drug therapy with beta-blockers, diuretics, anticoagulants and antiarrhythmics, surgical intervention, pacemaker therapy, and in high-risk patients, implantable cardioverter defibrillator to prevent sudden cardiac death. Cardiac transplantation is an option for patients who do not respond to any of these treatment options.

Heart - section through the middle

The interior of the heart is composed of valves, chambers, and associated vessels.

Heart - front view

The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy involves enlargement of the heart muscle and is the most common type of cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreased heart function affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy

Excessive use of alcohol has a direct toxic effect on the heart muscle cells. The heart muscle becomes weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. The lack of blood flow affects all parts of the body, resulting in damage to multiple tissues and organ systems. Alcohol may also directly damage the liver.



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