Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Overview

What Is Ischemic Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of heart diseases that affect your heart muscle. These diseases can cause some of the heart's walls to thicken.

Of the different types of cardiomyopathy, the most common type is ischemic cardiomyopathy. It occurs when coronary artery disease (also called ischemic heart disease) or a heart attack reduces blood flow to the heart, damaging the muscle.

This condition is sometimes called dilated cardiomyopathy, or DM. It can lead to heart failure, heart valve disease, blood clots and other heart conditions.

How Ischemic Cardiomyopathy Affects Your Health

As the heart’s ventricles (lower chambers) enlarge and weaken because of the damage caused by insufficient blood flow, they lose their ability to pump effectively. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body.

Your doctor may suggest medicine or surgical interventions to improve your heart function. Health and lifestyle changes can also relieve ischemic cardiomyopathy symptoms.

Learn more about all types of cardiomyopathy.

World-Class Care

Aurora’s Specialized Ischemic Cardiomyopathy Care

When you come to Aurora for your cardiomyopathy care, you can expect:

  • Innovative research and treatment: Our heart and vascular doctors are regularly involved in clinical trials. Their participation means that you may have access to innovative heart treatments and devices not widely available.
  • Pacemaker expertise: We implant or replace more than 800 pacemakers every year. Our experience means that you can expect top results. We also regularly check your pacemaker, using remote, computerized, automatic monitoring.
  • Individualized care: There are a number of treatment options for ischemic cardiomyopathy. However, we’ll offer options that we feel are the best fit for your particular situation.

Symptoms

Ischemic Cardiomyopathy Symptoms

In the beginning, your condition may not cause any symptoms. However, if you do feel any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor right away to prevent a heart attack or cardiac arrest (when your heart suddenly stops beating).

Ischemic cardiomyopathy symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain (often after exercise or large meals)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Heart palpitations and fluttering in your chest, especially during physical activity
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles

Ischemic Cardiomyopathy: Related Conditions

Diagnosis & Treatment

Thorough Evaluation & Treatment for Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

To diagnose ischemic cardiomyopathy, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam.

Diagnostic Tests

If you need further heart tests, they could include:

Learn more about heart and vascular testing and diagnosis at Aurora.

Treatment Options

If you have ischemic cardiomyopathy, we’ll work with you on a personalized treatment plan. Many people benefit from making healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and limiting salt, alcohol and caffeine.

Other options include:

  • Medication: Your doctor may prescribe medicine to improve your heart function and decrease symptoms like an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat).
  • Surgery: Depending on your health needs, your doctor may recommend surgical interventions such as:
    • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD): This electrical device helps control an irregular heartbeat. It also can send a small electrical charge to reset your heart to a normal rhythm, if needed. Learn more about ICDs.
    • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT): We can implant a special type of pacemaker in your chest to regulate your heartbeat. Learn more about CRT.

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