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Overview of Cardiomyopathy

By J. Malcolm O. Arnold, MD, Professor of Medicine;Cardiologist, University of Western Ontario;University Hospital, London Health Sciences Center

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Cardiomyopathy refers to progressive impairment of the structure and function of the muscular walls of the heart chambers.

Types of Cardiomyopathy

There are three main types of cardiomyopathy—dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive.

Cardiomyopathy can be caused by many disorders, or it may have no identifiable cause. The main types of cardiomyopathy—which may overlap—are dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. Cardiomyopathies often cause symptoms of heart failure (see Heart Failure : Symptoms). Some cardiomyopathies may also cause chest pain, fainting, or sudden death.

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