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The Different Types of Cardiomyopathy

The Different Types of Cardiomyopathy

The heart is one of our most important organs. Being the primary organ of the circulatory system, the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. Blood plays the vital role of carrying nutrients to maintain our body’s necessary functions.

The heart’s muscular tissue enables it to “pump” blood. Diseases that affect the heart’s muscular tissue are referred to as cardiomyopathy.

What happens when a person has cardiomyopathy? What are the types of cardiomyopathy? Read on to learn more.

Cardiomyopathy: All You Need to Know

Types of Cardiomyopathy

The different types of cardiomyopathy can differ, especially in the type of damage caused and its location.

Although most experts are unsure about the exact cause of cardiomyopathy, many claim that it can arise due to genetics or even, intense stress. It may also result from another related condition.

There are also certain studies that are looking into how cardiompathy can affect men more severely.

The types of cardiomyopathy are as follows:

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM is the most prevalent type of cardiomyopathy. It usually starts in the left ventricle, which is the part of the heart in charge of pumping blood throughout the body.

The cardiac muscle in the left ventricle thins out, making the heart chamber bigger.

Eventually, cardiac muscle in the left ventricle as well as the atria will also start to expand. The gradual thinning of the cardiac muscles can weaken the heart.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) causes the myocardium, or heart muscles, to thicken and enlarge.

This usually affects the septum (the wall separating the two bottom chambers of the heart), the ventricles, and the lower chambers of the heart.

There are two types of HCM, namely:

  • Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: The thickened cardiac muscle can lead to difficulties in pumping blood, and may even keep blood from flowing out of the heart.
  • Non-obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: In some cases, there is no blockage that keeps blood from flowing out. But in non-obstructive HCM, the walls of the heart can harden. This can lead to an undersupply of blood.

Understanding Stress Cardiomyopathy (‘Broken Heart’ Syndrome)

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) is one of the less common types of cardiomyopathy.

This condition makes the lower chambers of the heart rigid and inflexible. This prevents the ventricles from relaxing.

Although a heart with RCM may be able to contract efficiently, the inability to relax between pumps makes it difficult for the heart to fill up with blood.

RCM can cause fluid build-up in other parts of the body, and may even result in conditions such as enlargement of the atria.

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia, also called ARVD, is when fat or fibrous tissue replaces the heart muscle. This can lead to inefficient contractions. Although rare, ARVD mostly runs in families.

ARVD usually causes heart arrhythmia, which is a disorder that mainly causes irregularities in a person’s heartbeat. If left unmonitored, arrhythmias can cause blood clots that can lead to stroke or heart failure.

Screening and Diagnosis of Cardiomyopathy

Some types of cardiomyopathy will not cause any symptoms or discomfort even in its advanced stages. This is why it’s important to screen for cardiomyopathy especially if your physician considers you at risk of developing this disease.

People who have a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy may undergo genetic testing, to identify whether or not the condition is related to genetic mutations which can be passed to other family members. This will help families determine whether or not they are at risk as well.

If your doctor suspects that you have cardiomyopathy, they may perform the following tests or procedures in order to arrive at a diagnosis:

  • Blood tests.
  • CT Scan.
  • Chest X-ray.
  • Cardiac Catheterization.
  • Treadmill stress test.
  • Electrocardiogram or an ECG.

what are the types of cardiomyopathy

The doctor may also look into symptoms suggestive of a cardiomyopathic problem. For example, long-standing hypertension can indicate cardiomyopathy; likewise, heart failure symptoms after getting flu-like illness can point to viral myocarditis.

Key Takeaways

Cardiomyopathy is characterized by the thickening, dilation, or enlargement of the myocardium. This heart disease has numerous types which can cause impaired functions of the heart, resulting in serious health consequences such as a cardiac arrest, heart failure, or even death.

It’s best to regularly consult with your doctor if you are concerned about your risk of cardiomyopathy.

Learn more about cardiomyopathy, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


What is Cardiomyopathy in Adults https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiomyopathy/what-is-cardiomyopathy-in-adults Accessed November 24, 2020

Myocardium https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/myocardium Accessed November 24, 2020

Cardiomyopathy https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/cardiomyopathy Accessed November 24, 2020

Cardiac Repair Regeneration https://www.uclahealth.org/heart/cardiac-repair-regeneration Accessed November 24, 2020

What is Cardiomyopathy in Adults? https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiomyopathy/what-is-cardiomyopathy-in-adults/dilated-cardiomyopathy-dcm Accessed November 24, 2020

Dilated Cardiomyopathy https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dilated-cardiomyopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20353149 Accessed November 24, 2020

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17116-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy Accessed November 24, 2020

Right Ventricular Dysplasia https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16752-arrhythmogenic-right-ventricular-dysplasia-arvd Accessed November 24, 2020

Arrhythmia – Symptoms and Causes https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668 Accessed November 24, 2020

What is Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy(ATTR-CM)? https://www.heart.org/-/media/files/health-topics/answers-by-heart/abh_what-is-attrcm_v2_a

Accessed November 24, 2020

Cardiac Amyloidosis https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/cardiac-amyloidosis/

Accessed November 24, 2020

Genetic Testing in Cardiomyopathy https://www.cardiomyopathy.org/genetics-of-cardiomyopathy/genetic-testing-in-cardiomyopathy

Accessed November 24, 2020

Cardiomyopathy – Diagnosis and Treatment https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cardiomyopathy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370714

Accessed November 24, 2020


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Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos Updated Jun 10
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.