Restrictive cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease. It happens when scar tissue or another abnormal type of tissue develops in your heart muscle, making it too rigid to expand and fill with blood. As a result, your heart can't pump effectively. It can lead to arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and other heart problems. 

Though it can occur at any age, you’re more likely to develop restrictive cardiomyopathy if you’re older.

Doctors can’t always pinpoint a cause for restrictive cardiomyopathy, though it can develop after chemotherapy or radiation to your chest area or from inflammatory diseases like sarcoidosis. Too much iron in your body (hemochromatosis) can cause it, too.


Restrictive cardiomyopathy can cause:

  • Bloating
  • Chest pain (often after physical activity or heavy meals) 
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to exercise
  • Nausea 
  • Palpitations or fluttering in the chest 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in your legs and feet
  • Weight gain caused by fluid retention


If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. He or she will perform a physical exam and diagnostic tests. These may include:

Services & Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy, your doctor will work with you on a treatment plan tailored to your needs. It may include lifestyle changes to improve your health, close monitoring or medication such as beta blockers or diuretics. 

If your condition is severe, your doctor may recommend a heart transplant.

Your doctor will discuss all your treatment options and help you determine which one is right for you.

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Aurora Health Care offers coordinated care for preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and vascular disease. World-renowned heart and vascular specialists diagnose and treat all types of cardiovascular conditions and disorders, using the most advanced state-of-the-art tools and technologies available today. 

We have 15 hospitals and 155 clinics throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois so you can find a location that's closest to you. 

What’s all this mean to you? Convenient, coordinated and expert care. 

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