What is Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy are diseases of the heart muscle that cause it to become enlarged, thick or rigid. The diseases can have many causes and symptoms.

As the heart weakens it is less able to pump blood and maintain a regular heartbeat. This can lead to heart failure and arrhythmias and, in some cases, heart valve issues.

Cardiomyopathy can develop because of another disease or condition, or it can be inherited. It is important to know the heart health history of your family. Sometimes the disease can have no signs or symptoms and other times symptoms can be severe.

If you are concerned you might have a problem with your heart, talk to your primary care provider. To make an appointment with a cardiologist, call 866-GUTHRIE (866-488-4743).

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing, especially with physical exertion
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and veins in the neck
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting during physical activity
  • Irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias
  • Chest pain, especially after physical exertion or heavy meals
  • Heart murmurs

How is cardiomyopathy diagnosed?

Through a combination of medical and family health history, a physical exam and testing, your primary care doctor or cardiologist can diagnose the disease.

Tests can include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter Monitor
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress Test

Diagnosis may also include a medical procedure:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Coronary angiography
  • Myocardial biopsy
  • Genetic testing

How is cardiomyopathy treated?

You and your cardiologist work together to create your best treatment plan. Your plan may include lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet that is low in sodium, quitting smoking, being more physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and getting adequate rest.

Treatment can also include medications to manage risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Depending on the type of cardiomyopathy, surgical and nonsurgical procedures may be part of treatment including:

  • Septal myectomy
  • Surgically implanted devices such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Alcohol septal ablation

Heart disease care at Guthrie

  • The largest team in the region caring for heart patients including non-invasive and interventional cardiologists; cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgeons; advanced practice providers; nurses; therapists; and diagnostic technicians, all trained in specialized care for your heart.
  • 14 locations throughout the Finger Lakes and southern tier of New York and the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Our team approach to care means wherever you are seen, specialists and primary care providers work together to create the best heart care plan for you.
  • Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital was named among the top 10% in the nation for coronary interventional procedures for 5 years in a row (2016-2020) by Healthgrades.
  • Named one of IBM Health’s Top 50 in Cardiovascular in the nation 11 times, Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital is one of only 10 hospitals nationwide to receive this ranking more than 10 times.
  • Guthrie’s state-of-the-art Heart and Vascular Care Center is a space for cardiac catheterization, electrophysiology and structural heart treatments. You, the patient, are at the center of all care – with private rooms and close proximity to the ICU and operating rooms. A spacious waiting area for your family allows them to be close by and receive real-time updates on your status.

Guthrie heart surgeons are part of the largest cardiac care team in the northern Pa. and southern N.Y. Your heart is in good hands at Guthrie.

Guthrie interventional cardiology has advanced training in cardiac catheterization, performing ablation, stenting, angioplasty other structural heart procedures.

Guthrie Cardiac and Vascular team treats patients with circulatory diseases: abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease.