Heart Disease and Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

What Is Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the rarest form of cardiomyopathy, is a condition in which the walls of the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) are abnormally rigid and lack the flexibility to expand as the ventricles fill with blood.

The pumping or systolic function of the ventricle may be normal but the diastolic function (the ability of the heart to fill with blood) is abnormal. Therefore, it is harder for the ventricles to fill with blood, and with time, the heart loses the ability to pump blood properly, leading to heart failure.

What Are the Symptoms of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

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Many people with restrictive cardiomyopathy have no symptoms or only minor symptoms, and live a normal life. Other people develop symptoms, which progress and worsen as heart function worsens.

Symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy can occur at any age and may include:

Less common symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy:

  • Fainting (usually caused by irregular heart rhythms or abnormal responses of the blood vessels during exercise)
  • Chest pain or pressure (occurs usually with exercise or physical activity but can also occur with rest or after meals)

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Restrictive Cardiomyopathy - Symptoms Question: What symptoms do you experience with restrictive cardiomyopathy?

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy Causes

What causes restrictive cardiomyopathy?

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is not usually inherited and its cause is often unknown. Known causes of restrictive cardiomyopathy may include:

  • Build-up of scar tissue (often for no known reason).
  • Build-up of abnormal proteins (amyloidosis) in the heart muscle.
  • Chemotherapy or chest exposure to radiation.
  • Excess iron (hemochromatosis) in the heart.
  • Other systemic diseases (sarcoidosis).

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