Cardiomyopathy (Restrictive) (cont.)

What Causes Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

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

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

How is Restrictive Cardiomyopathy Diagnosed?

The size of the heart may remain normal with restrictive cardiomyopathy. In some cases, restrictive cardiomyopathy may be confused with constrictive pericarditis, a condition in which the layers of the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart) become thickened, calcified, and stiff.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is diagnosed based on medical history (your symptoms and family history), physical exam, and tests: such as blood tests, electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, exercise stress test, cardiac catheterization, CT scan, and MRI.

A myocardial biopsy, or biopsy of the heart muscle, occasionally is done to determine the cause of cardiomyopathy. During a myocardial biopsy, a small tissue sample is taken from the heart and examined under a microscope to examine the cause of the symptoms.

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