Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a term that doctors use to describe patients who have congestive heart failure due to coronary artery disease.

Ischemic cardiomyopathy results when the arteries that bring blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked. There may be a buildup of cholesterol and other substances, called plaque, in the arteries that bring oxygen to heart muscle tissue. Over time, the heart muscle does not work well, and it is more difficult for the heart to fill and release blood.


Patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy usually have symptoms of angina and heart failure.

Symptoms of angina include:

  • Chest pain that occurs behind the breastbone or slightly to the left of it. It may feel like tightness, heavy pressure, squeezing, or crushing pain. The pain may spread to the neck, jaw, back, shoulder, or arm.
  • A feeling of indigestion or heartburn
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and cold sweats
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained tiredness after activity (more common in women)

Symptoms of heart failure usually develop slowly over time. However, sometimes symptoms start very suddenly and are severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially with activity
  • Shortness of breath that occurs after lying down for a while
  • Cough
  • Fatigue, weakness, faintness
  • Swelling of the abdomen (in adults)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of feet and ankles (in adults)
  • Pulse may feel irregular or rapid, or there may be a sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of ischemic cardiomyopathies.


The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and treat the cause of the condition. If symptoms are severe, you may need to stay in the hospital.

A cardiac catheterization will be done to see if you can have bypass surgery or a balloon procedure (angioplasty). These treatments can improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle.

The overall treatment of cardiomyopathies is focused on treating heart failure.

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

Share this page!