What is Cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disorder that results in the abnormal functioning of the heart muscles. This condition causes the muscles in the heart to become weakened and the heart is not able to pump sufficient blood to the rest of the body and may result in heart failure as well.
Cardiomyopathy is mainly of three types:
Cardiomyopathy is a treatable heart condition and there are several methods of treatment available. The type of treatment for the individual case depends on certain factors, such as the type and severity of the Cardiomyopathy.
What are the signs and symptoms of Cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy, in its earlier stages, might not show any noticeable signs and symptoms. But the symptoms get more pronounced as the condition worsens with time.
These are the common signs and symptoms that accompany Cardiomyopathy:
- Swelling in legs/ankles/feet
- Swelling of abdomen as a result of fluid accumulation
- Cough while resting
- Irregular heartbeats
- Angina (chest pain)
It is advisable to immediately consult an experienced physician/doctor or a cardiologist (heart specialist) in case any of the signs and symptoms is noticed. Immediate and prompt diagnosis certainly helps to treat the condition in a better way.
What causes Cardiomyopathy?
Mostly, the cause for the development of Cardiomyopathy is not known, however there are certain factors that are known to increase the risk of this heart condition, such as:
- Chronic high blood pressure
- Damage to heart tissue from earlier heart attack
- Long-term rapid rate of heartbeat
- Heart valve issues
- Metabolic conditions (obesity, thyroid diseases, diabetes, etc)
- Nutritional deficiencies (such as of minerals and vitamins)
- Complications during pregnancy
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cocaine/amphetamine/anabolic steroid abuse
- Chemotherapy/ radiation treatment
- Certain infections
- Hemochromatosis (excessive iron accumulation in heart)
- Connective tissue disorders
What are the types of Cardiomyopathy?
There are mainly three main types of Cardiomyopathy:
Dilated Cardiomyopathy – This is the most common type of Cardiomyopathy. In this condition, the heart’s left ventricle, which is mainly responsible for pumping the blood out from the heart becomes weakened and dilated which results in an inability to pump sufficient amount of blood at a normal rate.
This type of Cardiomyopathy is mostly seen affecting people in their middle-ages. This condition is also related to a family history and can increase the chances for developing it.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – This Cardiomyopathy type results in the abnormal thickening of the muscles of the heart, especially the left ventricle which is responsible for pumping the oxygenated blood to the other parts of the body.
If the muscles of the left ventricle become hardened, and lose their flexibility, then the ventricle is unable to pump blood from the heart which can result in heart failure.
This condition is mostly noticed at an early age and becomes severe with time. Genetic mutation and heredity have been linked to hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy – This condition causes the complete heart muscles to start becoming rigid and lose their elasticity, which results in the heart being unable to function normally and causes decreased expansion and pumping of blood by it.
This is a rare form of Cardiomyopathy and is mostly seen affecting people in their advanced age. The cause for this type of Cardiomyopathy is not known (idiopathic).
What are the complications caused by Cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy results in various complications, such as:
- Heart failure – Heart failure is caused when the heart is unable to pump sufficient amounts of blood to the rest of the body. The damaged heart muscles become thick hardened and lose their elasticity. This can become a life-threatening condition if left untreated for even a short while.
- Blood clots – As this condition results in the inability of the heart to pump out the blood to the rest of the body, the accumulated blood starts to form clots. If these blood clots enter the bloodstream they may cause a stroke or heart deep vein thrombosis.
- Valve problems – As Cardiomyopathy causes the heart to get enlarged, the valves are unable to close properly, resulting in the back-flow of the blood.
How is Cardiomyopathy diagnosed?
A physical examination accompanied with the checking of the patient’s medical history and genetic backgrounds are the initial tests to detect the signs of Cardiomyopathy.
The doctor might also perform certain other diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of the condition, using:
- Chest X-ray – This allows viewing for abnormal enlargement of the heart.
- Echocardiogram – This technique uses sound-waves to create images of the heart. This helps to check the various functions of the heart. The doctor can also use this test to determine the cause for the condition.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) – In this the doctor attaches a number of electrode patches on the chest of the patient for measuring the electrical impulses being produced by the heart. Abnormal rhythm and heartbeats can be easily detected using this technique.
- Cardiac Catheterization – This technique involves using a thin tube (catheter) which is inserted in the groin area and the blood vessel is used as a channel for reaching the heart. This catheter may be used to remove a sample of heart tissue for a biopsy.
- Cardiac MRI – Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the heart.
- Cardiac CT scan – Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan uses x-rays to create a detailed and 3-D image of the heart.
- Blood tests – Several different types of blood tests may be used to check the kidney, thyroid and the liver functions as well as to measure the body’s iron levels.
How is Cardiomyopathy treated?
The main aim of any type of Cardiomyopathy treatment is to control the signs and symptoms being caused by the heart condition, prevent the condition from getting worse as well as decrease the risk of further complications arising due to it.
There are various forms of treatments used to treat Cardiomyopathy and the specific form of treatment mainly depends on the type of Cardiomyopathy the patient has.
These are the various Cardiomyopathy treatment methods:
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is treated using:
- Medications – These medications help to improve the heart’s pumping ability and function as well as improving the blood flow, lower the heightened blood pressure as well as removing eh excess fluids from the body and preventing blood clots from developing.
- Surgical Implants – If the patient is at a higher risk of heart rhythm problems, the doctor may use an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) which helps to monitor and regulate the rhythm of the heart using small electric impulses. A pacemaker may also be advised by the doctor to coordinate the pumping of the ventricles.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is treated using:
- Medications – These medications help to relax the heart as well as slowing down its excessively fast pumping action and stabilize its rhythm as well.
- ICD – In case the doctor suspects that the patient is at a risk of severe heart problems due to the condition, then they may be advised to use an ICD in order to allow the doctor to monitor the rhythm of the heart and use small electric impulses to control the abnormal heart rhythms.
- Septal Myomectomy – In this treatment method, the surgeon is required to remove a part of the thickened muscle of the heart wall (septum) which separates the two ventricles. This removal of the portion of the heart muscle wall helps to reduce backward flow of blood and improves blood flow from the heart as well.
- Septal Ablation – This surgical technique requires the surgeon to destroy a portion of the hardened septal wall by injecting it with alcohol using a catheter. This technique works in a similar manner to a Septal Myomectomy.
The main aim of the treatment for this condition is to improve the symptoms. The doctor might be required to carefully observe the salt and water intake of the patient on a daily basis. Medications may be prescribed to control the lowered blood pressure as well as the abnormal rhythm of the heart. This treatment also aims to address the cause of this condition if it is identified clearly.
Why choose Travcure for Cardiomyopathy treatment in India?
India is renowned as having the world’s largest network of comprehensive healthcare facilities that are equipped with the most sophisticated and modern medical equipments available. These are highly-advanced multi-specialty hospitals and clinics that are managed by India’s most-experienced and well-trained medical professionals and specialists. Travcure is India’s largest medical tourism service provider with a well-established connection to the large healthcare network. Travcure offers every patient with the best, most effective and advanced Cardiomyopathy treatment in India at the most affordable cost to the patient.