Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle, usually starting in your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle). The ventricle stretches and thins (dilates) and can't pump blood as well as a healthy heart can. The term "cardiomyopathy" is a general term that refers to the abnormality of the heart muscle itself.

Dilated cardiomyopathy might not cause symptoms, but for some people it can be life-threatening. A common cause of heart failure — the heart's inability to supply the body with enough blood — dilated cardiomyopathy can also contribute to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), blood clots or sudden death.

The condition affects people of all ages, including infants and children, but is most common in men ages 20 to 50.

Heart transplant to treat dilated cardiomyopathy: Elmo's story

July 26, 2017
  1. Tintinalli JE, et al. Cardiomyopathies and pericardial disease. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2016. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 22, 2017.
  2. Fuster V, et al, eds. Dilated cardiomyopathy. In: Hurst's The Heart. 14th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 22, 2017.
  3. Cardiomyopathy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/book/export/html/4916. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  4. Dilated cardiomyopathy. American Stroke Association. http://www.strokeassociation.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_312224.pdf. Accessed May 24, 2017.

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