Cardiomyopathy is a cardiac condition that affects the muscle within the heart, making it harder to pump blood around the body. In some cases cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

There are three different types of cardiomyopathy. This includes:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy

The treatment options available to a patient will differ depending on the type of cardiomyopathy they have and the severity. Typically, the treatment options can include medication, surgically implanted devices and in rare cases a heart transplant.

In the early stages of the disease symptoms may not be present, however as it gets worse patients will often report of:

  • Breathlessness (during activity or even rest)

  • Swelling in the lower limbs (legs, ankle and feet)

  • Bloat in the abdomen (this is caused by a build-up of fluid)

  • Fatigue

  • Coughing (when laying down)

  • Dizziness and/or fainting

  • Chest pain

  • Rapid heart beat

If you are experiencing these symptoms it is important that you seek treatment to prevent you condition from getting worse. Some patients will notice that their symptoms develop slowly over time whereas others may notice that they come on quickly.

In many cases the cause of cardiomyopathy is unknown, however sometimes it is brought on by another heart condition or inherited (passed down by one of the parents).

Here are some of the contributing factors associated cardiomyopathy:

  • Long term high blood pressure

  • Damage from a heart attach

  • Heart valve problems

  • Pregnancy

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Infections

  • Inflammation of the heart

  • Connective tissue disorders

  • Covid-19 complications

To diagnose cardiomyopathy, you will need to tell your doctor the symptoms you are experiencing and yours and your family’s medical history. To help with a clear diagnosis they may also refer you to have additional tests.

The first treatment options are likely to conservative (not surgery). This can include:

  • Septal myectomy – using alcohol a small portion of the thick heart wall is destroyed to allow the blood to flow properly.

  • Radiofrequency ablation – this helps to remove the section of tissue that is causing the issue.

If these techniques are unsuccessful then it is likely that the patient will need to have open heart surgery to remove the thickened hear tissue

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.