Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a term that doctors use to describe patients who have reduced heart pumping (squeezing) due to coronary artery disease. These patients often have congestive heart failure.
"Ischemic" means that an organ (such as the heart) is not getting enough blood and oxygen. "Cardio" means heart and "myopathy" means muscle-related disease.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy results when the arteries that bring blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked. There is usually a buildup of cholesterol and other substances, called plaque, in the arteries that bring oxygen to heart muscle tissue. Over time, the heart muscle does not work well, and it is more difficult for the heart to fill and pump blood to the body.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a common cause of congestive heart failure. Patients with this condition may at one time have had a heart attack, angina, or unstable angina. A few patients may not have noticed any previous symptoms.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is the most common type of cardiomyopathy in the United States. It affects approximately 1 out of 100 people, most often middle-aged to elderly men.
Risks for this condition include:
Patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy often have symptoms of angina or heart failure.
Symptoms of angina include:
Symptoms of heart failure usually develop slowly over time. However, sometimes symptoms start very suddenly and are severe. Common symptoms include:
The physical examination may be normal, or it may reveal signs of fluid buildup:
There may be other signs of heart failure.
This condition is usually diagnosed only if a test shows that the pumping function of the heart is too low. This is called a decreased ejection fraction. A normal ejection fraction is around 55 - 65%. Most patients with this disorder have ejection fractions much less than this.
Ischemic heart disease can make people more likely to have heart failure and the symptoms and signs noted above when the ejection fraction is normal or near normal. This is due to the abnormal relaxation of the heart (impaired filling). This is sometimes called "diastolic heart failure" or "heart failure with preserved ejection fraction."
Tests used to measure ejection fraction include:
Biopsy of the heart is needed in rare cases to rule out other disorders.
Lab tests that may be used to rule out other disorders and assess the condition of the heart include:
The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and treat the cause of the condition. If symptoms are severe, you may need to stay in the hospital.
A cardiac catheterization might be done to see if you may benefit from coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery or a balloon procedure (angioplasty), which could improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle.
The overall treatment of cardiomyopathies is focused on treating heart failure.
See also: Heart failure
Drugs and treatments that may be used include:
Some people may benefit from the following heart devices:
A low-salt diet may be prescribed for adults. Fluid may be restricted in some cases. You can usually continue your regular activities, if you are able.
If you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, stop doing so. These habits increase stress on the heart.
You may be asked to monitor your body weight daily. Weight gain of 3 or more pounds over 1 or 2 days may indicate fluid buildup (in adults).
A heart transplant may be recommended for patients who have failed all the standard treatments and still have very severe symptoms. Recently, implantable, artificial heart pumps have been developed. However, very few patients are able to undergo either of these advanced treatments.
This is a very serious disorder. It is a chronic illness that usually gets worse over time. Infection and other stress on your body from other medical illnesses will also cause symptoms to get worse.
It is very important to discuss your situation with your doctor to ensure that you can improve it as much as possible. You can control symptoms of heart failure and angina with medication, lifestyle changes, and by treating any underlying disorder.
Go to the emergency room or call 911 if:
The best way to prevent ischemic cardiomyopathy is to avoid getting heart (cardiovascular) disease (for example, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease).
Ischemic heart disease; Cardiomyopathy - ischemic