Cardiomyopathy refers to progressive impairment of the structure and function of the muscular walls of the heart chambers.
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.
Last full review/revision January 2008 by J. Malcolm O. Arnold, MD