The intention of cardiomyopathy treatment is to control symptoms, slow the progression of the condition, and prevent sudden cardiac death. The type of treatment may depend on the severity of the symptoms and the form of cardiomyopathy.
Usually, treatment includes a combination of the following:
Lifestyle changes can help reduce the severity of conditions that may have led to cardiomyopathy. More healthful lifestyle habits may also slow the progression of the disease.
Lifestyle changes may include following a healthful diet, which involves limiting the intake of trans fats, saturated fats, added sugar, and salt.
The quantity and intensity of beneficial physical activity may vary. It is essential to discuss exercise programs with a doctor or another healthcare professional before starting one.
Usually, medications are part of a cardiomyopathy treatment plan. Some types of drugs that doctors may prescribe include:
- Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers slow the heart rate, meaning that the heart has to work less hard.
- Blood thinners: Blood thinners help decrease the risk of blood clots developing.
- Diuretics: Diuretics remove excess fluid from the body. This fluid may accumulate when the heart does not pump efficiently.
- Blood pressure drugs: Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitors help lower blood pressure and interrupt the stress receptors that become activated in people with cardiomyopathy.
- Antiarrhythmics: Antiarrhythmics are medications that prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
Treatment may also include different types of implanted devices. The specific device depends on the symptoms. Implanted devices include:
- Pacemaker: After its surgical implantation beneath the skin near the chest, a pacemaker delivers electrical impulses to the heart, causing it to beat at a normal rate.
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator: This device also delivers an electric shock to the heart when it detects an abnormal, potentially unstable heart rhythm. The electrical impulse returns the heart rhythm to normal.
- Left ventricle assist device (LVAD): The LVAD assists the heart in pumping blood throughout the body. When cardiomyopathy has severely weakened the heart, this device is helpful while a person is waiting for a heart transplant.
- Cardiac resynchronization device: This implanted device helps coordinate the contractions of the left and right ventricles of the heart to improve heart function.
When symptoms are severe, surgery might be an option. Some possible surgical procedures for cardiomyopathy include:
This surgery treats hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with obstruction of blood flow. It involves removing part of the septum that is protruding into the left ventricle. Removing the thickened tissue improves blood flow out of the heart.
People with certain forms of cardiomyopathy with advanced heart failure might be eligible for heart transplantation. However, a heart transplant is an extensive process for which not everyone qualifies.
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