Cardiomyopathies, or diseases of the heart muscle, can occur without a known cause, be present without symptoms, and cause serious heart problems, including life-threatening arrhythmias, mitral valve disease, and heart failure. Identifying the disease early and working with cardiologists who are experts in its diagnosis and management will prevent cardiomyopathy from progressing and causing serious complications.
Duke cardiologists are experts in treating all types of cardiomyopathy.
The most common type of cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle wall thickens, making the heart work harder and sometimes obstructing the flow of blood leaving the heart. It often goes undiagnosed because many people have no or only mild symptoms. It is notorious for causing sudden death in young athletes but can affect people of all ages and activity levels. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may run in families.
The heart size is larger, but muscle walls are thinner and weaker and normal.
This rare condition occurs when the lower chambers of the heart become rigid and stiff, which restricts filling of the heart during muscle relaxation.