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Restrictive cardiomyopathy

  • Alternative Names

    Cardiomyopathy - restrictive; Infiltrative cardiomyopathy


    Symptoms of heart failure are most common. Usually, these symptoms develop slowly over time. However, sometimes symptoms start very suddenly and are severe.

    Common symptoms are:

    • Cough
    • Difficulty breathing
      • At night
      • Especially with exertion
      • When lying flat
    • Fatigue, poor exercise tolerance
    • Irregular or rapid pulse
    • Loss of appetite
    • Swelling of the abdomen
    • Swelling of the feet and ankles

    Other symptoms may include:

    • Chest pain
    • Decreased alertness or concentration
    • Failure to thrive (in children)
    • Low urine production
    • Need to urinate at night (in adults)
    • Shock (low blood pressure)

    Signs and tests

    An examination may show:

    • Enlarged (distended) or bulging neck veins
    • Enlarged liver
    • Lung crackles and abnormal or distant heart sounds when listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation)
    • Fluid backup into the hands and feet
    • Signs of heart failure

    Children will have:

    • Difficulty feeding
    • Pale skin
    • Poor growth
    • Weak pulses in the legs and arms

    Tests for restrictive cardiomyopathy include:

    • Cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography
    • Chest CT scan
    • Chest x-ray
    • ECG (electrocardiogram)
    • Echocardiogram and Doppler study
    • MRI of the heart
    • Nuclear heart scan (MUGA, RNV)
    • Serum iron studies

    Restrictive cardiomyopathy may be hard to tell apart from constrictive pericarditis. A biopsy of the heart muscle or cardiac catheterization may help confirm the diagnosis.