Cardiomyopathy | Dilated

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) describes a weakness of heart muscle resulting in heart failure. The heart usually enlarges and the weakened heart muscle leads to symptoms such as breathlessness, tiredness, dizziness, and in some chest pain. Some patients will be aware of palpitations due to ventricular tachycardia, a fast rhythm arising from either of the two main pumping chambers of the heart (ventricles). Dilated cardiomyopathy may be secondary to viral infection or inflammatory heart conditions, or in some will be a genetic condition and found in other family members.

Cardiac investigations such as echocardiography (cadiac ultrasound) are useful to assess heart function, and coronary angiography may be required to exclude the presence of coronary disease. Some patients may also require a biopsy of heart muscle to establish the diagnosis. An electrophysiological study (electrical study of the heart) may be required to assess the cause of palpitations. Treatment options include drug treatment for heart failure, antiarrhythmic drug treatment, catheter ablation and, more commonly, implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) therapy. Patients may also benefit from biventricular pacing.




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