If you have been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, your doctor may recommend a number of treatment options. The treatment plan may include measures to deal with the following:
- Manage any underlying conditions that are either causing or contributing to the condition
- Controlling symptoms
- Stopping the condition from worsening
- Reducing the likelihood of complications including the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)
The doctor may recommend that you make some lifestyle changes to deal with the underlying condition that may be causing your cardiomyopathy, including:
- Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean sources of protein
- Lowering salt intake
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation
- Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting enough rest
- Lowering stress
Medicines can be prescribed to accomplish these goals:
- Bring blood pressure down to a more normal level
- Slow the heart rate to a normal rhythm
- Keep the heart beating normally and prevent arrythmias
- Balance the electrolytes in the body
- Flush out excess fluids and sodium
- Prevent blood clots from forming
- Reduce inflammation
In some cases, surgery is used to treat cardiomyopathy. One option is to perform a septal myectomy. This is open heart surgery that is performed on people who are experiencing severe symptoms. Younger patients and those who aren’t getting symptom relief from their medication are good candidates for this procedure.
The procedure involves a surgeon removing part of the septum that is enlarged and bulging into the heart’s left ventricle. The blood flow throughout the heart is improved as a result, and the tissue that has been removed doesn’t grow back. After the procedure, the patient is able to resume a normal life.
Another surgical option is to place a device inside the heart to improve its functioning. A pacemaker is one example, and it is put in place under the skin of the chest or abdomen. Once it has been implanted, it helps to control irregular heart rhythms.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is implanted in the chest or abdomen as well. It is connected to the heart with small wires. If the device’s sensors detect a change in the heart’s rhythm, it sends an electric shock to the heart to bring it back to a normal rhythm.
In more serious cases, a heart transplant may be recommended. This is a treatment of last resort for people who are in heart failure and it is reserved for situations where all other treatment options have failed.