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Cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease in which the
heart is enlarged (dilated CM), thickened (hypertrophic
CM) or stiffened (restrictive CM). In CM the heart’s
ability to effectively pump blood to the body is impaired
and can lead to
heart failure. There are many gene
mutations associated with CMP. Family screening is
recommended as there might be other members with
The most common form is
dilated cardiomyopathy. In most cases the cause of dilated
CM remains unknown. It may be caused by viruses, metabolic
diseases, infectious diseases, AIDS, obesity, nutritional
deficiency, alcohol, radiation, chemotherapy, adverse drug
reactions, carnitine-deficiency, severe anemia or it may
be genetic (familial type).
The second most common
type of cardiomyopathy. In this condition the heart walls
(mainly the middle wall) become excessively thickened.
Blood flow through the heart is restricted. Most cases of
this type of cardiomyopathy are genetic in nature.
This is a very rare
cardiomyopathy that usually manifests later on in life. It
is a progressive condition where the heart muscle is
replaced with fatty tissue. Patients may present with
ventricular tachycardia. Most
cases are genetic in nature.
This is the least common
form of cardiomyopathy. Many of these patients may end up
with a heart transplant.
Many patients with cardiomyopathy may experience
arrhythmia (abnormal heart beats) which can be life
threatening. Other symptoms may include palpitations,
fatigue, difficulty breathing (especially during
exercise), poor appetite, shaking, sweating, chest pain,
fainting, upset stomach, failure to grow and others.
Some patients may need genetic testing,
catheterization, MRI, heart biopsy and EP testing. Blood
and urine testing is performed in all patients.
Many patients will require treatment with multiple
heart medications. Some patients may require implantation
pacemaker and/or defibrillator. Cardiomyopathy is one
of the two leading reasons for heart transplantation in
The goal of treatment is to control or prevent heart
failure and complications such as blood clots, arrhythmias
and sudden death.
Growth failure is present in over one-third of
patients. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains,
and fish with omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, trout) is
beneficial in most patients. Nutritional supplements to
consider include co-enzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and taurine
(an amino acid).
Most of the patients are restricted from any strenuous
exercise and competitive sports. Cardiomyopathy is the
leading cause of sudden cardiac death in pediatrics and
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