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Overview of Cardiomyopathies

By

Tisha Suboc

, MD, Rush University

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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Topic Resources

A cardiomyopathy is a primary disorder of the heart muscle. It is distinct from structural cardiac disorders such as coronary artery disease, valvular disorders, and congenital heart disorders. Cardiomyopathies are divided into 3 main types based on the pathologic features (see figure Forms of cardiomyopathy Forms of cardiomyopathy A cardiomyopathy is a primary disorder of the heart muscle. It is distinct from structural cardiac disorders such as coronary artery disease, valvular disorders, and congenital heart disorders... read more ):

The term ischemic cardiomyopathy refers to the dilated, poorly contracting myocardium that can occur in patients with severe coronary artery disease Overview of Coronary Artery Disease Coronary artery disease (CAD) involves impairment of blood flow through the coronary arteries, most commonly by atheromas. Clinical presentations include silent ischemia, angina pectoris, acute... read more Overview of Coronary Artery Disease (with or without areas of infarction). It is not classically considered to be in the above-listed categories because it does not describe a primary myocardial disorder.

Manifestations of cardiomyopathies are usually those of heart failure Pathophysiology Heart failure (HF) is a syndrome of ventricular dysfunction. Left ventricular failure causes shortness of breath and fatigue, and right ventricular failure causes peripheral and abdominal fluid... read more Pathophysiology and vary depending on whether there is systolic dysfunction Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) Heart failure (HF) is a syndrome of ventricular dysfunction. Left ventricular failure causes shortness of breath and fatigue, and right ventricular failure causes peripheral and abdominal fluid... read more Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) , diastolic dysfunction Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) Heart failure (HF) is a syndrome of ventricular dysfunction. Left ventricular failure causes shortness of breath and fatigue, and right ventricular failure causes peripheral and abdominal fluid... read more Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) , or both. Some cardiomyopathies may also cause chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is a very common complaint. Many patients are well aware that it is a warning of potential life-threatening disorders and seek evaluation for minimal symptoms. Other patients, including... read more , syncope Syncope Syncope is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness with loss of postural tone followed by spontaneous revival. The patient is motionless and limp and usually has cool extremities, a weak pulse... read more , arrhythmias Overview of Arrhythmias The normal heart beats in a regular, coordinated way because electrical impulses generated and spread by myocytes with unique electrical properties trigger a sequence of organized myocardial... read more Overview of Arrhythmias , or sudden death.

Forms of cardiomyopathy

Forms of cardiomyopathy
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Angina Pectoris
Angina pectoris is usually described as chest discomfort rather than as chest “pain.” The symptoms of angina pectoris may be a vague, barely troublesome ache or may rapidly become a severe, intense precordial crushing sensation. Although the location of the discomfort varies, it is most commonly felt at which of the following locations?
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