Cardiomyopathy is a group of serious, yet often missed heart muscle conditions. At Sentara, we offer the expertise and individualized care needed to diagnose all types of cardiomyopathy. We also provide the latest treatments, including left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).
Cardiomyopathy is a condition that causes the heart muscle to become too thin or too thick. These changes make it difficult for the heart to pump blood. As a result, there is a higher risk of heart failure, heart rhythm problems and even sudden death.
Cardiomyopathies can be present at birth or occur later in life. They may be inherited, idiopathic (have no known cause) or the result of an underlying condition. The most common cardiomyopathies are:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy: Heart muscle in your main pumping chamber (left ventricle) stretches and thins out (dilates). As it does, your ventricle expands and weakens. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a common cause of heart failure.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Heart muscle in the left chamber thickens and becomes stiff. Some people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy don't have any symptoms. But it can cause life-threatening arrhythmias in others.