Chest pain while exercising, trouble breathing, racing heart, or feeling that you might pass out: These are signs of cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy makes it harder for your heart to pump blood. Over time, it can lead to heart failure or the need for a heart transplant. If you already have this diagnosis, you're wondering what your future holds.
These symptoms are scary. At UVA Health, our heart care specialists have the training and experience you can count on. We can figure out what kind of cardiomyopathy you have and get you the right treatment.
You can get help here, even when you’ve run out of options elsewhere.
Getting Heart Care From the Best
The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association named us Virginia's only Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence. We have special screening, genetic counseling, and treatment options for managing your cardiomyopathy.
And, U.S. News & World Report named our cardiology and heart surgery services as "high-performing." That includes our heart failure care. It means we're among the best in the U.S.
Cardiomyopathy Treatment at UVA Health
There isn't a cure for cardiomyopathy. But we can help you manage the symptoms and keep it from progressing quickly. We can help you understand what your heart is doing so you can help improve your symptoms. And we’ll work with you to create a long-term care plan that’s right for you.
Treatment options depend on:
- Cardiomyopathy type
- How bad the symptoms are
- Your age and overall health
Lifestyle changes can help slow down the progress of cardiomyopathy. That means:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Watching your stress levels
- Watching your weight
If you need cardiomyopathy treatment, we can use:
We can improve blood flow or treat symptoms with:
- Anti-clotting medicine (blood thinners)
- Cholesterol medicine
- Blood pressure medicine
- Heart failure medications
Heart devices improve blood flow or rhythm problems using:
- Pacemakers (keep your heart at a steady rhythm)
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD; shocks your heart when the rhythm is dangerous)
- Left ventricular assist device (helps pump blood)
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy (similar to a pacemaker)
When other treatments haven't worked we can:
- Repair or replace damaged areas
- Go around blocked arteries (heart bypass surgery)
- Give you a new heart (heart transplant)
Specialists You Can’t Find Everywhere
In some kinds of cardiomyopathy, your heart muscle gets:
- Small patches of swelling (sarcoidosis)
- Replaced with a protein from other parts of the body (amyloidosis)
We treat these condition types with a high level of expertise you won’t find at every hospital. At UVA Health, our experts are specially trained to treat both sarcoidosis and amyloidosis.
Getting to the Source
Where did your cardiomyopathy come from? Sometimes it runs in the family. If that’s the case, our genetic counselors can test you and help with your treatment plan. We can also test your family members and recommend options.
Heart muscle damage can also come from:
At UVA Health, we have a wide network of support to offer as we work together to heal your heart. You can take part in our diabetes program, alcoholism treatment, heart attack recovery clinic, and more.