Cardiomyopathy is the term for any disease of the heart muscle that interferes with the heart’s ability to pump blood. There are several forms of cardiomyopathy:

  • Dilated (or congestive) cardiomyopathy is weakness in the walls of the heart that causes them to balloon out, compromising the heart’s efficiency and increasing the risk of congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and the formation of blood clots (which may cause heart attacks or strokes).
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, overgrowth or thickening of heart muscle, may compromise blood flow through the heart.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy involves loss of elasticity of the heart walls that prevents the heart from adequately filling with blood prior to contracting.

Except when caused by viral infections, cardiomyopathy develops slowly and may produce no symptoms until the later stages. The disorder accounts for only 1 percent of heart disease fatalities in the United States. It is one of the more common causes of serious heart disease in younger people.


Johns Hopkins Symptoms and Remedies: The Complete Home Medical Reference

Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Editor

Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Updated by Remedy Health Media

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 13 Oct 2011

Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014