Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that can affect people at any age, but we offer medications and other treatments to manage it. At the Wake Forest Heart & Vascular Center, our team provides expert care for cardiomyopathy so patients of all ages can maintain a normal lifestyle.

What is Cardiomyopathy? 

Cardiomyopathy includes diseases of the heart muscle that reduce the heart’s ability to pump effectively. These diseases enlarge your heart muscle or make it thicker and more rigid than normal. 

The causes of cardiomyopathy are not always known. It can be inherited, meaning that it’s caused by genes passed down from your parents. It can also be acquired, meaning that you develop it because of another condition or risk factor.

Conditions and risk factors that may lead to cardiomyopathy include: 

  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) 
  • Viral infections that may injure the heart 
  • Metabolic disorders, such as obesity, thyroid disease or diabetes 
  • Heavy alcohol or drug use 

Because cardiomyopathy weakens the heart, it’s important to get treated. Treatment can prevent the disease from getting worse, control symptoms and reduce your risk for serious complications, including: 

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy 

As cardiomyopathy progresses and the heart weakens, signs and symptoms of heart failure usually occur. These include: 

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing, especially with physical activity 
  • Fatigue 
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen or veins in the neck 
  • Abdominal bloating caused by fluid buildup 
  • Cough 
  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting 

Diagnosing Cardiomyopathy 

Our experienced heart and vascular specialists use a range of tools to find and diagnose cardiomyopathy. The most common tests your physician may recommend are: 

  • Blood and stress tests 
  • Cardiovascular imaging, including echocardiogram and cardiac MRI 
  • Chest X-ray 
  • Diagnostic catheterization, including angiogram and myocardial biopsy 
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) 
  • Event and Holter monitor to record your heart’s electrical activity over 24 to 48 hours 

Learn more about heart and vascular diagnosis at Wake Forest. 

Treating Cardiomyopathy at Wake Forest 

Your treatment course will depend on which type of cardiomyopathy you have: inherited or acquired. We will develop a personalized treatment plan for you, which may include one or more of the following:

Only you and your doctor can decide which treatment is right for you. All of our patients receive pre-operative counseling to help them understand the risks and benefits of procedures. 

Contact Us 

Request an appointment online. Or, for more information, please call: 

  • 336-716-WAKE or 
  • 888-716-WAKE (toll-free) 

 

Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

Local 336-716-WAKE
Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

Vascular 336-716-4151
Heart 336-716-6674

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We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.

Last Updated: 05-27-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.