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- Dilated—Damaged heart muscles lead to an enlarged, floppy heart. The heart stretches as it tries to make up for a weakened ability to pump.
- Hypertrophic—Heart muscle fibers enlarge abnormally. The heart does not relax correctly between beats. The heart wall thickens, leaving less space for blood to fill the chambers, so less blood is pumped from the heart.
- Restrictive—Parts of the heart wall stiffen. Thickening often occurs due to abnormal tissue invading the heart.
|Normal Heart and Heart With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy|
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- Coronary artery disease (CAD) with decreased blood flow to your heart
- Infections, usually viral
- Chronic exposure to toxins, including alcohol and some chemotherapy drugs
- A rare complication of pregnancy or childbirth (probably immune-related)
- Rarely, other illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis , diabetes, or thyroid disease
- Inherited—sometimes present at birth but often developing in teens
- Aging, associated with hypertension
- Shortness of breath, often worse when lying down or with activity
- Swelling in feet or legs
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Blood tests
- Heart biopsy
- Avoid alcohol.
- If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about ways to help you lose weight .
- Eat a low-fat diet to reduce the risk and extent of coronary artery disease.
- Limit salt intake to reduce fluid retention.
- Follow your doctor's advice about exercise . You may need to limit physical activity.
- Diuretics—To remove extra fluid
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors—To relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and decrease the heart's workload
- Angiotensin receptor blockers—Similar to ACE inhibitors
- Hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate—May be used with ACE inhibitors
- Digitalis—To slow and regulate heart rate, and slightly increase its force of contractions
- Beta-blockers—To slow the heart and limit disease progression
- Spironolactone—To improve the outcome in people with dilated cardiomyopathy and advanced symptoms
- A pacemaker may be implanted to improve heart rate and pattern.
- For people with hypertrophic disease, doctors may remove part of the thickened wall that separates the heart's chambers. Surgery may be needed to replace a heart valve. Another option is alcohol septal ablation. This procedure reduces symptoms and improves how the heart functions.
- For those with life-threatening, irregular heart rhythms, a cardioverter defibrillator may need to be implanted.
- A heart transplant may be possible for otherwise healthy patients who do not respond to medical treatment. Candidates often wait a long time for a new heart. Those waiting may temporarily receive a ventricular assist device. This is a mechanical pump that takes over some or most of the heart's pumping function.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2016
- Update Date: 09/09/2014