Congestive Heart Failure Treated by Cardiologists at Mercy's Heart Center

Heart Center - Baltimore, MD

The cardiologists at The Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiomyopathy, also known as congestive heart failure.

About the Condition

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the muscles of heart. The muscles can become thick, stiff or thin, making it difficult for the heart to contract and pump blood to the body. Over time the heart can become weak and begin to fail, leading to congestive heart failure.

The 5 different types of cardiomyopathy include:

Dilated – This is the most common type of cardiomyopathy. More frequently the disease begins in left ventricle. It becomes dilated (enlarged), stretching and thinning the lining of the ventricle. The disease then often moves to the right ventricle and then the atria (lower chamber).

Hypertrophic – This type of cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to enlarge and become thick. The thickening causes the muscles to become stiffer and the ventricles to become smaller, reducing the amount of blood the heart can take in, and reducing the amount of blood it can pump out to the body.

Restrictive – This type of cardiomyopathy develops when the left or right ventricle becomes stiff or rigid, but the muscles of the heart do not become thick. The ventricle is not able to relax and fill with blood causing the atria to become enlarged.

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia – This type of cardiomyopathy is rare. Muscle in the right ventricle breaks down and is replaced with scar tissue causing arrhythmias or sudden cardiac arrest. It is most often found in young adults due to an inherited disease.

Unclassified – This encompasses all other types of cardiomyopathies including left ventricular noncompaction and takotsubo (broken heart syndrome).

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can vary patient-to-patient and some patients have no symptoms; however, patients may experience the following:

Following a thorough exam, a doctor will review your medical and family history. A doctor may recommend additional tests to confirm diagnosis, such as blood tests, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), Holter monitoring, stress test or echocardiogram (echo).

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment for cardiomyopathy depends on the diagnosis, severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health. Patients with no signs or symptoms may not require treatment. Other treatment options may include:

  • Change in lifestyle including healthy eating, regular exercise, managing stress
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Medication
  • Non-surgical procedures
  • Surgically implanted devices
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