Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle and
the way it pumps. There are different types of cardiomyopathies. And these types have different causes. Cardiomyopathy may occur as a result of damage to the heart, such as from
a heart attack, or a person may inherit the tendency to develop
There are many other types of cardiomyopathy that can be classified by what causes the heart muscle problem. For example, inflammation of the heart muscle can cause inflammatory cardiomyopathy. A heart rhythm problem can cause tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy. A stressful event can cause takotsubo (stress) cardiomyopathy in which a heart chamber changes shape and cannot pump blood normally.
For some cardiomyopathies, the changes in the heart muscle can lead to other heart
problems such as heart failure. Heart failure means the heart cannot pump blood
normally. When the heart cannot pump blood well, the rest of the body may not
get enough blood, oxygen, or nutrients. Cardiomyopathy can also lead to other
heart problems such as atrial fibrillation, which is a type of irregular
How is it treated?
Treatment for cardiomyopathy depends on the type of cardiomyopathy and the type of
heart problems that occur as a result of the changes in the heart
muscle. Treatment typically includes medicine and healthy lifestyle changes.
Amsterdam EA, et al. (2014). 2014 AHA/ACC Guideline for the management of patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes. Circulation, 130(25): e344-e426. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000134. Accessed October 24, 2014.
Maron BJ, Thiene G (2011). Classifications of cardiomyopathies. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's the Heart, 13th ed., vol. 1, pp. 813-820. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology