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What is Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a term that refers to a variety of diseases of the heart muscle ranging in signs, symptoms and treatments. In all forms of cardiomyopathy, some part of the heart becomes enlarged and causes weakness over time, leading to heart failure and irregular heartbeats.

Mercy Health offers expert treatment for multiple forms of cardiomyopathy:

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy

    • This is the most common form of cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle begins to stretch and become thinner (dilate). Dilation causes the chambers inside the heart to enlarge. As a result, the heart doesn't contract normally and is unable to pump blood efficiently. These factors can eventually lead to heart failure, heart valve problems, irregular heartbeats and blood clots.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    • A very common condition that can affect people of any age, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) occurs when the heart muscle enlarges and restricts the flow of blood out of the left ventricle. This will cause a variety of negative effects on the heart, including high blood pressure, changes to your heart cells and disrupted electrical signals. Your cardiologist will be able to diagnose which form of HCM you have (obstructive or non-obstructive).
  • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

    • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy causes the ventricles of the heart to stiffen due to the replacement of healthy heart muscle with abnormal tissue, such as scar tissue. This most often affects older adults. Over time, the ventricles will not be able to fill with blood leading to problems such as heart failure and arrhythmia.
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia

    • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD) is a rare form of cardiomyopathy in which the muscle tissue in the right ventricle is replaced with scar tissue. As a result, the heart's electrical signals are disrupted and will cause arrhythmias. ARVD can commonly cause cardiac arrest in young athletes.

Free Student Heart Screenings

Some forms of cardiomyopathy are seen in young adults and athletes and can be life-threatening if left untreated. In order to promote healthy hearts and save lives, Mercy Health offers free student heart screenings to West Michigan high school students. For more information, please visit our Free Student Heart Screenings page.

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