Encyclopedia Home / D / Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy

  • Definition

    Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and it cannot pump blood efficiently. The decreased heart function can affect the lungs, liver, and other body systems.

    There are several different types of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common form.

    See also:

    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Ischemic cardiomyopathy
    • Restrictive cardiomyopathy

    Alternative Names

    Cardiomyopathy - dilated


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    There are many causes of dilated cardiomyopathy. Some of these are:

    • Alcohol (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) or cocaine abuse
    • Atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, or other heart rhythm problems in which the heart beats very fast for a long period of time (called Tachycardia-mediated cardiomyopathy)
    • Autoimmune illnesses that involve the heart, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis
    • Catecholamine excess from a tumor that releases catecholamines (pheochromocytoma)
    • Coronary artery disease (See: Ischemic cardiomyopathy)
    • Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals (thiamine, calcium, magnesium)
    • End-stage kidney disease
    • Family history of cardiomyopathy (some cardiomyopathies run in families and have a genetic component)
    • Infections that involve the heart muscle, such as viruses, HIV infection, Chagas disease, and Lyme disease
    • Inherited disorders such as muscular dystrophy
    • Medications that can be toxic to the heart (such as some chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer)
    • Poorly controlled high blood pressure
    • Pregnancy (See: Peripartum cardiomyopathy)
    • Stress-induced cardiomyopathy
    • Trace elements, such as lead, arsenic, or mercury

    This condition can affect anyone at any age. However, it is most common in adult men.

    The most common causes of dilated cardiomyopathy in children are:

    • Heart (coronary) disease
    • Myocarditis
    • Some infections
    • Unknown cause (idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy)