WELCOME to the ATRIAL SEPTAL DEFECT COMMUNITY: This Patient-To-Patient Community is for discussions relating to Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) which is a hole in the part of the septum that separates the atria (the upper chambers of the heart). This hole allows oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium to flow into the right atrium instead of flowing into the left ventricle as it should. This means that oxygen-rich blood gets pumped back to the lungs, where it has just been, instead of going to the body.
Cardiomyopathy (KAR-de-o-mi-OP-a-the) refers to diseases of the heart muscle. These diseases have a variety of causes, symptoms, and treatments. In cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle becomes enlarged or abnormally thick or rigid. In rare cases, the muscle tissue in the heart is replaced with scar tissue.
As cardiomyopathy progresses, the heart becomes weaker and less able to pump blood through the body. This can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs; abnormal heart rhythms), fluid buildup in the lungs or legs, and, more rarely, endocarditis (a bacterial infection of the lining of the heart). The weakening of the heart also can lead to other severe complications.
The four main types of cardiomyopathy are:
Cardiomyopathy can have a specific cause, such as damage to the heart from a heart attack, high blood pressure, or a viral infection. Some types of cardiomyopathy are caused by a gene mutation and run in families. In many cases, the cause is unknown.
Cardiomyopathy can affect people of all ages, from babies to older adults. However, certain age groups are more likely to have certain types of cardiomyopathy. Treatment may involve medicines, surgery, nonsurgical procedures, and lifestyle changes.
Some people live long, healthy lives in spite of having cardiomyopathy. Some people don't even realize that they have the disease because they have no symptoms. In other people, the disease develops rapidly, symptoms are severe, and serious complications develop. Current treatments can reduce symptoms and complications of cardiomyopathy.
Author/Source: National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, Division of the National Institutes of Health [NIH]
Retrieved: August 2006