Cardiomyopathy is a general term that is used for conditions that affect the heart muscle, causing a reduction in the heart's ability to contract. Reduced ability to contract affects the heart's ability to pump blood around the body.

A person with cardiomyopathy cannot recover but, if treated properly, he may in some cases have a "life expectancy no different from that of a person without cardiomyopathy.".

Based on changes in the heart muscle, a cardiomyopathy can be classified into dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive or arrhythmogenic.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that primarily affects the left ventricle. The left ventricle of people with this disease dilates and cannot pump blood around the body with the same force as a healthy heart. It is the most common type of cardiomyopathy and can be classified into idiopathic (when the cause is unknown), genetic (due to a defective gene), viral and / or immune, alcoholic / toxic (this form, due to alcohol abuse, drugs or medications, it can be reversible).

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

In hypertrophic cardiomyopathies the heart presents itself with thickened walls (hypertrophic); the left ventricle becomes less elastic and therefore has a reduced capacity to receive blood from the lungs. The result is a reduction in the amount of blood pumped by the heart to various organs and tissues in the body. There is a distinction between a non-obstructive form and an obstructive form in which there is also an abnormal movement of the mitral valve which partially obstructs the flow of blood from the ventricle to the aorta. This disease occurs in 1 in 500 individuals in the general population and in most cases has a genetic cause.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is rare. The walls of the main heart chambers become stiff and cannot relax properly after contraction. This means that the heart cannot properly fill with blood, causing congestion with accumulation of fluids in the lungs, legs, abdomen and various organs and a reduction in blood flow from the heart to the various parts of the body. In many cases, the cause is unknown, although the condition can sometimes be inherited.

Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy

Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (CA) is an inherited disease caused by a change (mutation) in one or more genes that make up the proteins that normally hold heart muscle cells together. Muscle cells can die and dead muscle tissue is progressively replaced by scar tissue and fat. The walls of the main heart chambers thin, the ventricular cavity dilates, and the heart cannot pump enough blood. The right ventricle is the most commonly affected. It is called arrhythmogenic because the most frequent complication is the development of severe changes in the heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmias) up to sudden death.

In-depth link

In-depth link

NHS. Cardiomyopathy (English)

National Institutes of Health (NIH). Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). Dilated cardiomyopathy (English)

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