Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dr. Alrich L. Gray // Central Montana Heart & Vascular Institute

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that reduces how much blood the heart can pump to the rest of the body.

In dilated cardiomyopathy, the left ventricle, which is the largest pumping chamber of the heart, is enlarged and significantly weakened. More blood stays in the enlarged left ventricle, and the heart muscle is not strong enough to pump a lot of blood around the body. Some symptoms include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, at rest or with exertion
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling of your feet, ankles, and legs

Your doctor may prescribe you medications to help your heart pump blood more effectively and reduce the workload on your heart. These medications may reduce your blood pressure, prevent blood clots, reduce inflammation, and prevent water retention. Your doctor may also implant a pacing device into your chest to help it beat regularly, including a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).