Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
There are several different types of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common form.
Cardiomyopathy - dilated
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Heart disease (which is caused by a narrowing of the arteries) and poorly controlled high blood pressure are the most common causes of dilated cardiomyopathy. These problems lead to a weakened and enlarged heart muscle.
There are many other causes of dilated cardiomyopathy, including:
Alcohol or cocaine abuse, or medicines that can be toxic to the heart (such as drugs used to treat cancer)
Abnormal heart rhythms in which the heart beats very fast for a long period of time
Chronic heart failure becomes worse over time. Many people who have heart failure will die from the condition. Thinking about the type of care you may want at the end of life and discussing these issues with loved ones and your health care provider is important.
Heart failure is most often a chronic illness, which may get worse over time. Some people develop severe heart failure, in which medicines, other treatments, and surgery no longer help. Many people are at risk for deadly heart rhythms, and may need medicines or a defibrillator.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cardiomyopathy.
If chest pain, palpitations, or faintness develop seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
Hare JM. The dilated, restrictive, and infiltrative cardiomyopathies. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 68.
Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.