Cardiomyopathy means disease of the heart muscle that affects its function as a pump. It can be due to a heart attack (ischaemic cardiomyopathy hypertension (hypertensive cardiomyopathy) or to valve disease (valvular cardiomyopathy). Outside these categories, there is:
• Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
• Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
• Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)
• Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D)
• Unclassified cardiomyopathies
In all cardiomyopathies, the structure and function of the heart muscle is altered. As the heart muscle weakens, the heart finds it more difficult to contract and relax and less blood is pumped to the lungs and the rest of the body. This can affect bot he left ventricle and the right ventricle. Eventually, if left untreated, the heart dilates and enlarges and heart failure ensues. The rare forms of cardiomyopathies behave as either dilated cardimyopathies or restrictive cardiomyopathies. They can all potentially lead to failure of the pump acton of the heart or serious rhythm abnormalities.