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Heart, section through the middle
Heart, section through the middle


Heart, front view
Heart, front view


Definition:

Restrictive cardiomyopathy refers to a group of disorders in which the heart chambers are unable to properly fill with blood because of stiffness in the heart.



Alternative Names:

Cardiomyopathy - restrictive; Infiltrative cardiomyopathy



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

In restrictive cardiomyopathy, the heart is of normal size or only slightly enlarged. However, it cannot relax normally during the time between heartbeats when the blood returns from the body to the heart (diastole).

Later in the disease, the heart may not pump blood efficiently. The abnormal heart function can affect the lungs, liver, and other body systems. Restrictive cardiomyopathy may affect either or both ventricles. It may be associated with a disease of the heart muscle .

The most common causes of restrictive cardiomyopathy are amyloidosis and scarring of the heart from an unknown cause (idiopathic myocardial fibrosis). It frequently occurs after a heart transplant.

Other causes of restrictive cardiomyopathy include:



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

An examination may show:

  • Signs of heart failure
  • Fluid backup into the lungs, hands and feet, gastrointestinal tract, and liver
  • Distended neck veins
  • Lung crackles and abnormal or distant heart sounds when listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation )

Tests for restrictive cardiomyopathy include:

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.



Treatment:

Few treatmetns are known to be effective for restrictive cardiomyopathy. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and improve the quality of life.

The following treatments may be used to control symptoms:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Diuretics to remove fluid and help improve breathing
  • Steroids

A heart transplant may be considered if the heart function is very poor.



Expectations (prognosis):

People with restrictive cardiomyopathy may be heart transplant candidates. The outlook depends on the cause of the condition, but it is usually poor. Average survival after diagnosis is 9 years.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy.



Prevention:



References:

Hare JM. The Dilated, Restrictive, and Infiltrative Cardiomyopathies. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP. Libby: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 64.




Review Date: 5/15/2008
Reviewed By: Alan Berger, MD, Assistant Professor, Divisions of Cardiology and Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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