Cardiomyopathy describes any disorder that affects the heart muscle, causing the heart to lose its ability to pump blood effectively. In some instances, the heart rhythm also becomes disturbed and leads to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). There may be multiple causes of cardiomyopathy, including viral infections and certain medications. Often, the exact cause of the muscle disease is never found.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most frequent form of nonischemic cardiomyopathy. The cavity of the heart is enlarged and stretched, compromising the heart's ability to pump normally:
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a condition that results from lack of blood flow to the coronary arteries that provide blood and nutrients to heart muscle. This results in heart attacks that then weaken the heart muscle. If there is a major heart attack to a large territory of heart muscle, or if patients suffer repeated heart attacks in different areas of the heart that weaken it excessively, a condition can occur where the heart becomes too weak to perform its function, and can lead to congestive heart failure or death.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when the muscle of the left ventricle of the heart becomes thicker than normal, obstructing blood flow to the rest of the body. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can affect the heart's mitral valve, causing blood to leak backward through the valve.