CARDIOMYOPATHY (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy; Nutritional Cardiomyopathy)
DESCRIPTIONCardiomyopathy is a disorder of the heart muscle that can be caused by many medical problems. The heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreasing heart function eventually affects the lungs, liver, and circulatory system. Cardiomyopathy can affect both sexes and all ages but is most common in adult males.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSIrregular or rapid heartbeat.
Shortness of breath with activity.
Swelling of the child's feet and ankles.
Cough with frothy, bloody sputum.
Loss of appetite.
If cardiomyopathy is extensive enough to cause congestive heart failure in your child, the following symptoms may occur:
CAUSESNutritional deficiency, especially of vitamin B-4 (thiamine).
Mineral deficiency, especially of potassium.
Fat tissue in the child's heart that replaces muscle fibers.
Amyloid deposits (See Glossary) due to other disorders.
Tuberous sclerosis (See Glossary).
Hemochromatosis (See Glossary).
Friedreich's ataxia (See Glossary).
Virus infection (rare).
Coronary artery disease (advanced stages).
Obesity; family history of cardiomyopathy; use of certain drugs, such as diuretics; smoking; alcoholism.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should eat a well-balanced diet and drink alcohol moderately, if at all.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
EKG (See Glossary).
X-rays of the heart and lungs.
Cardiac catheterization and radioactive studies to determine left ventricular ejection fraction. When the ejection fraction falls below 20% and no simpler measures exist, many prominent medical authorities recommend heart transplants.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSCongestive heart failure.
PROBABLE OUTCOMEIf the underlying disorder can be corrected, cardiomyopathy may be curable.
If the underlying cause can't be corrected, cardiomyopathy is incurable. Some patients are candidates for a heart transplant.
HOME CAREWeigh the child daily before breakfast and record the weight. Report any marked weight change to your doctor. This may indicate excess fluid accumulation.
MEDICATIONDigitalis to improve your child's heart function.
Diuretics to decrease fluid retention.
Vitamins or potassium supplements (if the disorder is caused by a deficiency).
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
After treatment your child can resume normal activities gradually.
DIET & FLUIDS
Low-salt diet (See Appendix 29).
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Only upon clearance of your doctor.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of cardiomyopathy or symptoms recur after treatment.
Your child has chest pain.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.