Cardiomyopathy is a group of conditions that affects the muscle of the heart and reduces its ability to pump blood around the body. It can alter the shape of the heart or the size and thickness of the muscle walls.
Cardiomyopathy is often an inherited disease caused by a mutation in a person’s DNA that affects how the heart develops, but it can also be caused by viral infections, diseases that attack the immune system and some medical treatments such as those used to treat cancer.
There are six types of cardiomyopathy, as follows:
Your cardiologist will explore your family’s health history and you would normally have an ECG (electrocardiogram) and either an echocardiogram or MRI/CMR scan. As cardiomyopathy can be inherited, it may be that we would recommend that your first degree relatives are advised to have screening tests as well (ECG and echocardiography).
Unfortunately there is no cure for cardiomyopathy; however many people take medication to alleviate the symptoms. Medication regularly prescribed includes anti-coagulants to thin the blood and reduce the risk of blood clots, diuretics to reduce the build-up of fluid, and beta-blockers to reduce the heart rate.
Some people will have a medical device inserted into their body during a surgical procedure, either a pacemaker that controls the rhythm of the heart or an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) which controls the rhythm and shocks the heart if the rhythm changes from normal to a dangerous rhythm.
In a small number of cases, people undergo surgery to remove some heart muscle if it affects blood flow, and in very few situations people have to have a heart transplant.
We believe the best cardiac care can only be achieved by the best cardiologists in their fields, working together, for you and your heart. Our consultants are able to offer appointments throughout the week and at weekends.