How is Cardiomyopathy Diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may assess your condition using several tests and services to confirm a cardiomyopathy diagnosis. These may include:
- Chest X-ray – to help doctors have a visual image of the inside of your chest cavity
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) – uses electrodes to check your heart valves and make sure that the heart is pumping and circulating blood
- Echocardiogram – ultrasound imaging of your heart and its function
- Treadmill stress test – measures how your heart responds to the stress of exercise
- Cardiac catheterization – a catheter is inserted through a tiny incision to check for blockages in the arteries that supply the heart with blood and evaluate the heart’s capacity to function
- Cardiac MRI – using radio waves and magnets to take a detailed scan of the heart muscle wall. It can also show and how the walls and valves function.
- Cardiac CT scan – a diagnostic tool that creates high-resolution images of the heart, allowing doctors to better diagnose various cardiac ailments
- Blood tests – where a sample of blood is analyzed for any markers or changes that may help confirm a cardiomyopathy diagnosis
How is Cardiomyopathy Treated?
Cardiomyopathy treatment is largely individualized based on the patient and their unique health needs. Only a doctor can help to determine the best treatment option. Most cardiomyopathy treatments are divided into three categories: medications, therapies and surgical options.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat cardiomyopathy for the following reasons, including to:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Normalize or slowdown your heart rate
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent the formation of blood clots.
Therapies refer to nonsurgical treatment options for cardiomyopathy. These may include:
Alcohol septal ablation. Alcohol is injected into an artery through a catheter. This can cause a reduction in the thickening of the wall. New tissue that may grow to replace this now dead tissue will be thinner and allow blood to pass through more easily.
Radiofrequency ablation. Using radio waves, this procedure creates heat that will then be used to destroy enlarged and thickened tissue.
If medication and nonsurgical treatments are not an option, surgical options may also be considered to treat cardiomyopathy. These may include:
- Ventricular assist device, also known as VAD, is a device placed inside the patient to help with blood flow
- Pacemaker. A device that is placed under the skin and sends electrical impulses to both lower chambers of the heart so that they beat in synchrony
With proper diagnosis, care, and treatment, cardiomyopathy patients can have a normal life expectancy. If left untreated, the condition may be life-threatening as it can lead to cardiac arrest.
In some cases, yes, cardiomyopathy may be inherited
In many cases, the exact cause of cardiomyopathy may be unknown. In other cases, cardiomyopathy may be caused by viral infection, heart attacks or coronary artery disease.
Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Cardiomyopathy Treatment
At NewYork-Presbyterian, our cardiology experts diagnose and treat heart diseases and conditions, including cardiomyopathy. If you are experiencing heart problems, our leading specialists in heart care can help you to understand your symptoms and provide surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for cardiomyopathy, including pacemakers and ventricular assist devices.
Schedule an appointment with one of our cardiomyopathy care providers now.