Definition of Cardiomyopathy

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.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Common types of cardiomyopathy include:


When the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy can be identified, efforts are aimed at treating that condition (for example, treating high blood pressure or coronary artery disease, or stopping alcohol or cocaine use). Sometimes, no specific cause can be identified.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook depends on many different things, including:


Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/17/2010

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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