Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Ischemic cardiomyopathy is the most common type of dilated cardiomyopathy. It occurs when coronary artery disease or a heart attack decreases blood supply to the heart muscles. This interferes with the heart’s ability to pump blood. In response, the lower left ventricle, which is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, enlarges to accommodate more blood. As the chamber enlarges, the walls dilate, becoming thin and weak.

Ischemic Cardiomyopathy Symptoms

Ischemic cardiomyopathy symptoms include:

  • Angina, especially with physical activity or after eating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting, caused by irregular heart rhythms, abnormal responses of the blood vessels during exercise or without apparent cause
  • Fatigue or an inability to carry out normal activities
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet and legs
  • Weight gain, cough and congestion related to fluid retention

Risks and Causes of Ischemic Cardiomyopathy 

Coronary artery disease and a heart attack are the primary causes of ischemic cardiomyopathy. However, the same risk factors that lead to coronary artery disease and a heart attack are also risk factors for ischemic cardiomyopathy. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Diagnosing Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Your doctor will diagnose cardiomyopathy based on your medical history, a physical exam and results from various cardiac tests and procedures. Specific tests may include:

Treating Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

The goals of treating ischemic cardiomyopathy are to address the underlying causes of coronary artery disease, improve cardiac function and reduce heart failure symptoms.To accomplish this, doctors recommend lifestyle changes, implantable devises and surgery.

Medications may include:

  • ACE inhibitors and related medications to help relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure and decrease the heart's workload
  • Beta blockers to slow the heart and limit disease progression
  • Blood thinners to prevent blood clots
  • Diuretics to eliminate extra fluid
  • Others to control your heart rate and rhythm

Lifestyle changes may include following a low-sodium diet. Your doctor will advise you on your activity level. While some people are advised to get light aerobic exercise, others are advised not to exercise. Your doctor will recommend the option best for you.

Implantable devices may include:

  • Biventricular pacemaker 
  • Cardioverter defibrillator
  • Device therapy for patients with heart failure

Interventional procedures and surgical options may include:

  • Angioplasty
  • Heart transplant
  • Stenting
  • Surgery to reconstruct the left ventricle

A Leader in Treating Complex Cardiovascular Disease

Our goal is to help patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy improve their condition with lifestyle changes, medications, catheter-based interventions or surgical options. We are dedicated to providing exceptional care and the best quality of life possible for all our patients.

Aurora offers the best-in-class services and treatments, and some are unique to the areas we serve. You’ll find our doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.