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Cardiomyopathy


Treatment:

When possible, the cause of cardiomyopathy is treated. Medicines and lifestyle changes are often needed to treat the symptoms of heart failure, angina, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Procedures or surgeries may also be used, including:

  • A defibrillator that sends an electrical pulse to stop life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms
  • A pacemaker that treats a slow heart rate or helps both sides of the heart beat at the same time
  • Coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery or angioplasty that may improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle
  • Heart transplant that may be tried when all other treatments have failed

Recently, implantable artificial heart pumps have been developed. These may be used for very severe cases. However, not all patients need or are able to have this advanced treatment.

Outlook (Prognosis):

The outlook depends on many different things, including:

  • Cause and type of cardiomyopathy
  • How well the condition responds to treatment
  • The severity of the heart problem

Heart failure is usually a long-term (chronic) illness. It may get worse over time. Some people develop severe heart failure. In this case, medicines, surgery, and other treatments may no longer help.

Patients with certain types of cardiomyopathy are at risk for dangerous heart rhythm problems.

References:

Shammas NW, Padaria RF, Coyne EP. Pericarditis, myocarditis, and other Cardiomyopathies. Prim Care Clin Office Pract. 2013;40:213-236.

Hare JM. The dilated, restrictive, and infiltrative cardiomyopathies. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 68.

Wexler RK, Elton T, Pleister A, Feldman D. Cardiomyopathy: An overview. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79:778-784.


Review Date: 5/13/2014
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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