Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Cardiomyopathy is a heart problem caused by a damaged heart muscle

Cardiomyopathy is a heart problem caused by a damaged heart muscle
beginning of content

Cardiomyopathy

2-minute read

Cardiomyopathy is a heart problem caused by a damaged heart muscle. There are different types of cardiomyopathy, which have different causes and affect different groups of people. The condition is usually managed with medication and living a healthy life.

What is cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which your heart muscle is damaged and becomes weak so it can’t pump blood as well as it should.

Most people with cardiomyopathy are only mildly affected and can lead fairly normal lives.

However, if you have cardiomyopathy and your heart muscle gets too weak, you can develop heart failure.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy

Sometimes there are no symptoms for cardiomyopathy. In other people, symptoms vary depending on the type of cardiomyopathy they have, and their age. You might have:

In children, you might notice they find it hard to keep up with their friends and become breathless easily. They may also have a cough, tummy pains, nausea or reduced appetite. In babies, you might notice heavy breathing or sweating while they are feeding, and poor weight gain.

What causes cardiomyopathy?

The main causes of cardiomyopathy are:

Cardiomyopathy is sometimes called either primary or secondary. In primary cardiomyopathy, the cause is not known, while in secondary cardiomyopathy, tests are able to show the cause.

Types of cardiomyopathy

There are four main types of cardiomyopathy. They affect people in different ways.

  • In dilated cardiomyopathy, your heart muscle stretches and become thinner, so it hasn’t got the strength to beat properly.
  • In restrictive cardiomyopathy, your heart becomes rigid and can’t relax enough to beat properly.
  • In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your heart muscle enlarges and the walls of the heart thicken - leaving too little room for blood in the heart.
  • In arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, the muscle in part of your heart is replaced with scar tissue.

Living with cardiomyopathy

If you have cardiomyopathy, it’s important to live a healthy life as far as possible. You can do this by:

However, some people will also need medicines, some will need surgery and some will need an implantable device to keep their heart going properly.

More information

For more information about cardiomyopathy, talk to your doctor or visit the Cardiomyopathy Association of Australia website.

Last reviewed: February 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which your heart muscle becomes inflamed and enlarged. Because it is enlarged, your heart muscle is stretched and becomes weak. This means it cant pump blood as fast as it should.

Read more on WA Health website

Cardiomyopathy - myDr.com.au

Cardiomyopathy describes a range of diseases of the heart muscle. Damage to the heart muscle can lead to a weakening of the heart, eventually leading to heart failure in some people.

Read more on myDr website

Myocarditis information | myVMC

Myocarditis refers to infection of the heart muscle. It occurs when viral infections like adenovirus and enterovirus spread to the heart.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Cardiomyopathy (heart disease) information | myVMC

Cardiomyopathy refers to a heart condition or abnormality of the heart which causes inflammation, weakening the heart so it cannot pump blood efficiently.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia. The number of people living with cardiovascular disease is increasing due to factors including population ageing and improved treatments that have resulted in people living longer with CVD.

Read more on Department of Health website

Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood through the body as effectively as normal

Read more on WA Health website

Facts about chronic heart failure | The Heart Foundation

Heart failure is a serious condition. Learn the symptoms of heart disease, what happens after diagnosis and how to manage the problems it causes.

Read more on Heart Foundation website

DNA and disease | Garvan Institute of Medical Research

DNA and disease https://www

Read more on Garvan Institute of Medical Research website

Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) | myVMC

Cardiac MRI scan Magnetic Resonance Imaging of human heart and brain etc with an MRI with services of an MRI machines

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Congestive heart failure (CHF) - Better Health Channel

Congestive heart failure is present when the heart cannot pump enough blood to satisfy the needs of the body.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo