Cardiomyopathy | Loyola Medicine

Cardiomyopathy

Leading Academic Medical Center for Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is one of the many heart disorders diagnosed and treated by the highly skilled doctors at Loyola Medicine. Cardiomyopathy, often referred to as heart muscle disease, is a disorder in which your heart muscle becomes abnormally weak or thickened. Whether the weakening or thickening occurs regionally or globally, the ensuing heart dysfunction can reduce blood flow leading to fluid retention, abnormally high pressures within the heart and lungs, and symptoms of heart failure.
 
While the cause of cardiomyopathy is not always known, several factors are known to contribute to the development of the disease, including:

  • Long-term hypertension
  • Malnutrition
  • Metabolic disorder
  • Substance abuse (cocaine, amphetamines, etc.)
  • Viral infection

There are two main types of cardiomyopathy:

  • Ischemic cardiomyopathy — A heart disease caused by coronary artery disease or heart attack. As a result, the lack of blood damages the heart muscle, decreasing the heart's ability to pump blood.
     
  • Nonischemic cardiomyopathy — Disease of the heart muscle unrelated to coronary artery disease. As a result, the heart does not pump blood correctly. 

There are several types of nonischemic cardiomyopathy, which include:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) — The left ventricle becomes enlarged and can’t effectively pump blood out of the heart
     
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) —Abnormal growth or thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber
     
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) — The heart muscle becomes rigid and less elastic making it unable to expand and fill with blood between heartbeats. This is caused by abnormal tissue in the heart.

If you are diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, you may be at risk for heart valve problems, congestive heart failure (CHF), heart rhythm disorders and sudden cardiac arrest.

Why Choose Loyola for Cardiomyopathy Treatment?

Loyola is a leading academic medical center with access to advanced technology and clinical trials, enabling our cardiomyopathy and heart failure patients to benefit from life-saving techniques and procedures that may not be available elsewhere. Our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, genetic counselors and other specialists has significant expertise in evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

How is Cardiomyopathy Diagnosed?

Experts at Loyola approach the diagnosis and treatment of cardiomyopathy with great detail and care. In addition to a regular physical exam and medical history, your doctor will consider your symptoms, which may include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Arrhythmias
  • Dyspnea (breathlessness)
  • Edema (leg swelling)
  • Fatigue

If cardiomyopathy is suspected, your doctor may utilize several additional diagnostic tools to definitively diagnose your condition, including:

What are the Common Forms of Treatment for Cardiomyopathy?

Regardless of your type of cardiomyopathy, the multidisciplinary team of doctors at Loyola is experienced at developing a treatment plan that is right for you. In addition to medical management, doctors are skilled at performing the following minimally invasive and open heart surgeries to manage your condition: