Dilated Cardiomyopathy – Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis and Causes
CARDIOMYOPATHY
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Last Updated : 9/7/2009
Dr. Ira Shah
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What is dilated cardiomyopathy?
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition when the heart is enlarged and weak and results in less pumping of blood around the body.

What is the function of the heart?
Our heart acts as a pump and plays an important role in circulating the blood in the body. Heart is divided in four chambers and every camber has a specific role in fresh blood to the body. The top right chamber receives blood that has already circulated through the body hence low in oxygen. The bottom right chambers than pumps this low oxygenated blood to the lungs to receive oxygen. This high oxygenated blood is then supplied in the top left chamber and then supplied to the body by the bottom left chamber of the heart.

What is the problem in dilated cardiomyopathy?
When a person suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy, the pumping is not as effective as it should be. Hence after every heart beat, some blood is left as all the blood is not pumped out. Over a period of time, more and more blood is left and accumulates in the heart. Due to this the heart stretches out of shape and the heart muscle becomes weaker and weaker, and causing a heart failure.

What is heart failure?
Heart failure doesn't necessarily imply that heart will stop functioning, but it means that the heart cannot work properly to supply the blood required by the body. This inefficient pumping may also result in fluid build up in lungs and body parts such as ankles, liver, abdomen etc.

What are the symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy?
Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include

- Breathlessness,
- Getting tired very often
- Relatively less urine production
- Irregular pulse
- Swelling in abdomen or legs ( wherever fluid is retained)
- Chest pain
- Rapid weight gain in very few days.

How is the diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy made?
Your doctor may carry out some preliminary tests such as ECG, ultrasound, chest X-ray. A diagnosis can be made on echocardiography.

What is the treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy?
Treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy varies from case to case and also depends on how advanced that disease is. Hence recognizing the symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy at early stage is important. The treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy can vary from drug prescription or placing an artificial pacemaker or transplanting the entire heart.



Contributor Information and Disclosures

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India


First Created : 4/2/2001
Last Updated : 9/7/2009

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