Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Cardiomyopathy Overview

What is a cardiomyopathy?
A person with a cardiomyopathy has weakness of the heart that usually results in a condition called congestive heart failure. Over time, the weakness worsens, leading to congestive heart failure. Common causes for cardiomyopathy include heart attack, coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, viral myocarditis, and post partum cardiomyopathy.

What are the symptoms of a cardiomyopathy?
Early symptoms include cough, weakness, and fatigue. Additional symptoms include leg swelling, weight gain, difficulty breathing when lying flat, increasing shortness of breath with activity, and waking in the middle of the night short of breath.

How does the doctor treat a cardiomyopathy?
Treatment for a cardiomyopathy depends on the underlying cause. Symptoms of congestive heart failure are often treated with medications to remove excess water from the body, and medications that stimulate the heart to pump more effectively. Additional treatment includes restricting the amount of fluid in the diet, as well as a diet low in salt, fat, and cholesterol.

Last Updated: Jun 13, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cardiomyopathy References
  1. Emergency medicine: a comprehensive study guide; Judith E. Tintinalli, Gabor D. Kelen, J. Stephan Stapczynski - 2004
  2. Ferri's Clinical Advisor, Fred F. Ferri - 2007
  3. Genetics Home Reference, National Institutes of Health
  4. Griffith's 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Mark Dambro - 2006
  5. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Anthony S. Fauci, Eugene Braunwald, Dennis L. Kasper, Stephen L. Hauser, Dan L. Longo, J. Larry Jameson, Joseph Loscalzo - 2008
  6. Nelson textbook of pediatrics, Robert Kliegman, Richard E. Behrman, Waldo Emerson Nelson - 2007
  7. Office of Rare Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health
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