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Cardiomyopathy (cont.)

What causes cardiomyopathy?

Patient Comments

There are many causes of cardiomyopathy that can be categorized in several ways. One method of defining cardiomyopathy is based on the official definition by the American Heart Association (see below), which are broken into two categories, primary and secondary. Another method of categorizing cardiomyopathy causes are extrinsic and intrinsic (which are more commonly used when discussing the disease with patients, family, and caregivers) and are discussed later in this article.

The official definition of cardiomyopathy of the American Heart Association in 2006 is as follows:

"Cardiomyopathies are a heterogeneous group of diseases of the myocardium associated with mechanical and/or electrical dysfunction that usually (but not invariably) exhibit inappropriate ventricular hypertrophy or dilatation and are due to a variety of causes that frequently are genetic. Cardiomyopathies either are confined to the heart or are part of generalized systemic disorders, which may lead to cardiovascular death or progressive heart failure-related disability."

The definition divides heart disease into:

  • Primary cardiomyopathies, those that usually affect the heart alone (primary). The primary cardiomyopathies are further divided into inherited (genetic) diseases, those that are acquired, and those that are a combination of both. , and
  • Secondary cardiomyopathies, those that are a result of an underlying condition affecting many areas of the body.

What causes primary cardiomyopathy?

Some of the causes are of primary cardiomyopathy are:

  • Genetic
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Ion conduction abnormalities
      • Prolonged QT syndrome
      • Brugada syndrome
  • Mixed
    • dilated cardiomyopathy
    • restrictive cardiomyopathy
  • Acquired
    • inflammatory myocarditis
    • peripartum
    • physically and physiologically stress induced (tako-tsubo syndrome or "broken heart syndrome")
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cardiomyopathy:

Cardiomyopathy - Experience

Please share your experience with cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy - Symptoms and Signs

What signs and symptoms have you experienced with cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy - Types and Causes

What type of cardiomyopathy do you have, and what was the cause (if known)?

Cardiomyopathy - Medications

What medications have been helping you in managing and treating your cardiomyopathy?

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