Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute Irregular Heartbeats Program

We have decades of experience caring for patients with aneurysms as part of our Irregular Heartbeats Program, pioneering minimally invasive treatments and leading research for new treatments to improve patient outcomes.

What is cardiomyopathy?

Any disorder that affects the heart muscle is called a cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy causes the heart to lose its ability to pump blood well. In some cases, the heart rhythm also becomes disturbed. This leads to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). There are many causes of cardiomyopathy, including:

  • Alcohol abuse

  • High blood pressure

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Viral infections

  • Muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophy
  • Certain medicines

  • Illegal drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine

Often, the exact cause of the muscle disease is never found.

How does cardiomyopathy differ from other heart disorders?

Cardiomyopathy differs from many of the other disorders of the heart in several ways, including:

  • Cardiomyopathy can occur in young people.

  • The condition tends to be progressive. Sometimes it worsens fairly quickly.

  • It may be associated with diseases involving other organs, as well as the heart.

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is a leading cause for a heart transplant.

  • It's often the result of gradual changes of heart structure over time

What causes cardiomyopathy?

Viral infections in the heart are a major cause of cardiomyopathy. In some cases, another disease or its treatment causes cardiomyopathy. This might include complex heart disease that's present at birth (congenital). It can also include nutritional deficiencies, fast heart rhythms, or certain types of chemotherapy for cancer. Sometimes, cardiomyopathy can be linked to a genetic defect. Other times, the cause is unknown. Three types of cardiomyopathy typically affect adults. They are:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy