Cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure. It is often associated with inadequate heart pumping or other heart function problems. Common types of cardiomyopathy include:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged. It cannot pump blood efficiently.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy refers to a group of disorders in which the heart chambers are unable to properly fill with blood because of stiffness in the heart.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle thickens. This thickening makes it harder for blood to leave the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. This type of cardiomyopathy is passed down through families.

Common causes of cardiomyopathy are:

  • Alcoholism and cocaine use
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic defects
  • Amyloidosis
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Infections due to viruses, HIV, Lyme disease, and Chagas disease
  • Long-term, severe high blood pressure
  • Nutritional deficiencies (such as selenium, thiamine, calcium)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy
  • Ischemic cardiomyopathy
  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy


When the cause of the dilated cardiomyopathy can be identified, efforts are aimed at treating that condition (for example, stopping alcohol or cocaine use). Often, no specific cause can be identified. Attempts are also made to find a trigger that may have caused a patient's symptoms to suddenly worsen. Examples include:

  • Not taking medications correctly
  • Increasing salt or fluid intake
  • Drinking alcohol

The overall treatment of cardiomyopathies is focused on treating heart failure. However, each type of cardiomyopathy may be treated differently.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.

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