How is cardiomyopathy diagnosed?
A doctor may suspect this condition from your symptoms, family history, or changes on a heart tracing (ECG). To confirm the diagnosis, an ultrasound scan of the heart called an echocardiogram is used. This is a painless test where sound waves 'bounce' back off heart tissue. It can measure the thickness of the heart muscle. Another type of ultrasound test called a
Doppler ultrasound can detect blood flow through the heart chambers. This shows how well the heart ventricles are filling and contracting. A doppler ultrasound can also show if there is any turbulent blood flow within the ventricles.
In congestive cardiomyopathy, the heart becomes enlarged and weakened and is unable to pump effectively. Symptoms of heart failure develop. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in contrast to the congestive type, involves an enlargement or overgrowth of the heart muscle, usually that of the left ventricle, but sometimes the right chamber is also involved. In one form of hypertrophic disease, the septum-the wall between the two ventricles-becomes enlarged and obstructs the flow of blood from the left ventricle into the aorta. The mitral valve also may be distorted by the thickened septum, leading to mitral insufficiency. The major symptoms are shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting, chest pain, and cardiac arrhythmias.
The condition usually can be diagnosed by characteristic physical findings, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and, if doubt still exists, cardiac catheterization and radionuclide angiography. A biopsy of the heart wall tissue may help distinguish between the different types of cardiomyopathy.
More information on cardiomyopathy
What is cardiomyopathy? - Cardiomyopathy is an alteration in the function of the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy is the deterioration of the cardiac muscle of the heart wall.
What're the symptoms of cardiomyopathy? - The symptoms of cardiomyopathy include fatigue, shortness of breath, fainting, leg swelling, and an enlarged and tender liver.
How is cardiomyopathy diagnosed? - Cardiomyopathy can be diagnosed by characteristic physical findings, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization and radionuclide angiography.
What is dilated cardiomyopathy? - Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the commonest form of cardiomyopathy, and one of the leading indications for heart transplantation.
What causes dilated cardiomyopathy? - No exact cause can be found for cardiomyopathy. Up to 30% of cases of dilated cardiomyopathy can be linked to heavy drinking.
What're the symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy? - Typical signs and symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and swelling of the legs and feet.
What're the treatments for dilated cardiomyopathy? - Treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy is focused on relieving the symptoms and the extra load on the heart. Lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery may be needed.
What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? - Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the second most common type of cardiomyopathy and results in excessive thickening of the heart walls.
What causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? - Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is caused by the mutation in one of a number of genes that encode for one of the sarcomere proteins.
What're the symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? - Symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, chest pain (angina), palpitations, dizziness and fainting attacks.
What's the treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? - Treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is directed towards decreasing the left ventricular outflow tract gradient and to abort arrhythmias.
What's arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia? - Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) is a type of nonischemic cardiomyopathy that involves primarily the right ventricle.
What causes arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia? - The cause of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia is largely unknown. Apoptosis appears to play a large role.
What's the treatment for arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia? - Pharmacologic treatment of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia involves arrhythmia suppression and prevention of thrombus formation.
What is restrictive cardiomyopathy? - Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) is the least common cardiomyopathy. Restrictive cardiomyopathy can be caused by a number of diseases.
How restrictive cardiomyopathy is diagnosed? - The diagnosis of restrictive cardiomyopathy is usually based on a physical examination, echocardiography, and other tests as needed.
What's the treatment for restrictive cardiomyopathy? - There is no effective treatment for restrictive cardiomyopathy. Treatment of a causative disease may reduce or stop the damage to the heart.
How is cardiomyopathy treated? - Beta-blocker medicines, and calcium antagonist medicines are the mainstay of treatment for cardiomyopathy. Surgery may be indicated for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.