Having cardiomyopathy may lead to other heart conditions, including:

  • Heart failure. Heart failure means your heart can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. The thickened, stiffened or weakened heart muscle due to cardiomyopathy can become unable to pump or can stop blood from flowing out of the heart. Left untreated, heart failure can be life-threatening.
  • Blood clots. Because your heart can't pump effectively, you're more likely to have blood clots form in your heart if you have cardiomyopathy. If clots are pumped out of the heart and enter your bloodstream, they can block the blood flow to other organs, including your heart and brain. If clots develop on the right side of your heart, they may travel to your lungs (pulmonary embolism). To reduce your risk, your doctor may prescribe a blood thinner (anticoagulant medication), such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) or warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).
  • Valve problems. Because people with dilated cardiomyopathy have an enlarged heart, the mitral and tricuspid valves — two of the heart's four valves — may not close properly, leading to a backward flow of blood. This flow creates sounds called heart murmurs.
  • Cardiac arrest and sudden death. All forms of cardiomyopathy can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. Some of these heart rhythms are too slow to keep blood flowing through your heart effectively, and some are too fast to allow the heart to beat properly. In either case, these abnormal heart rhythms can result in fainting or, in some cases, sudden death if your heart stops beating effectively.
Jan. 24, 2014