Cardiomyopathy affects about 50,000 Americans (adults and children), and often occurs in the young. It tends to be progressive and sometimes worsens fairly quickly. It may be associated with diseases involving other organs, as well as the heart. Viral infections that infect the heart are a major cause of cardiomyopathy. In some instances, cardiomyopathy is a result of another disease or its treatment, such as complex congenital (present at birth) heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, uncontrollable, fast heart rhythms, or certain types of chemotherapy for cancer. Sometimes, cardiomyopathy can be linked to a genetic abnormality.
In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the muscle mass of the left ventricle of the heart is thicker than normal, or the wall between the two ventricles (septum) becomes enlarged and obstructs blood flow, limiting the amount of blood pumped with each beat. In dilated cardiomyopathy, the cavity of the heart is enlarged and stretched, causing the heart to become weak and not pump normally. Restrictive cardiomyopathy makes the ventricles rigid, so they fill with less blood between heart beats.
When you come to the University of Miami Health System, you have the multidisciplinary expertise of several clinics that address, including the Center for Congenital Heart Disease in Children and Adults, the Center for Advanced Heart Failure and the Center for Cardiac Genetic Syndromes and Sports Cardiology.
- Center for Congenital Heart Disease in Children and Adults
- Center for Advanced Heart Failure
- Center for Cardiac Genetic Syndromes and Sports Cardiology
Our cardiothoracic surgeons are experts in septal myectomy, a treatment only available at medical centers that specialize in the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Genetic tests may help determine the genetic causes of many inherited cardiac diseases. Your doctor may recommend echocardiography on a regular basis for family members with an identified variant.
In this test, a device (transducer) is pressed firmly against your skin and aims an ultrasound beam through your chest to your heart, producing moving images of the working of the heart.
Wires (electrodes) attached to adhesive pads on your skin measure electrical impulses from your heart. An ECG can detect enlarged chambers of your heart and abnormal heart rhythms.
Treadmill Stress Test
Your heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing are monitored while you walk on a treadmill so your doctor may evaluate symptoms, determine your exercise capacity, and determine if exercise provokes abnormal heart rhythms. Treadmill stress tests are sometimes performed with echocardiography.
You may wear a portable ECG that records your heart's activity continuously over one to two days. This test is often done in people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Exam
A cardiac MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of your heart, and is often used in addition to echocardiography to evaluate you for a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Genetic tests may help determine the inherited causes of several cardiac disorders, because up to 70 percent of high risk families have an identifiable mutation. Your doctor may recommend echocardiography on a regular basis if you had a family member with sudden cardiac death, heart disease before age 50, a history of fainting or Long Q-T Syndrome. Once the gene is identified, we can test family members and monitor the carriers.
During this procedure, a small portion of the thickened heart muscle is destroyed by injecting alcohol through a long, thin tube (catheter) into the artery supplying blood to that area to improve your symptoms.
In this open-heart procedure for hypertrophic myocardopathy, the surgeon removes part of the thickened, overgrown muscle between the ventricles to improve blood flow and reduce mitral valve regurgitation.
Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)
Your doctor may recommend an ICD if you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and you're at high risk of sudden cardiac death because of abnormal heart rhythms. This small device implanted in your chest continuously monitors your heartbeat. It's implanted in your chest like a pacemaker. If a life-threatening rhythm occurs, the ICD delivers precisely calibrated electrical shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a leading cause for heart transplantation.
Why Choose UHealth?
Advanced heart failure therapies. Leading edge treatments include ventricular assist devices and heart transplant. For advanced heart disease, options for treatment go beyond what is available in the community to prolong life and give you or your loved one a second chance.
Multidisciplinary care by recognized specialists in their field. In complex cases, heart disease care may require the services of a cardiothoracic surgeon, an interventional cardiologist, a lung specialist, a diabetes specialist and a geneticist. Your doctors talk to each other and make sure all specialties involved in your care are on-board with a unified treatment plan.
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