Cardiomyopathies are diseases of the heart muscle: they include 5 different shapes, according to the size and thickness of the walls of the left or right ventricle or both.
For a long time they can be completely asymptomatic, that is, they do not cause disturbances. But they can also suddenly occur with events such as heart failure, or arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation or severe ventricular arrhythmias, which can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death (tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation).
Diagnosis is made with the integrated use of Electrocardiogram (ECG), Colordoppler Echocardiogram (ECHO), Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (MRI), dynamic ECG (the latter to evaluate any arrhythmias) together with blood chemistry tests. Subsequently, genetic analyses and other specific tests can also be carried out in specialized centers to identify the disease that generated the cardiomyopathy, specify the stage of the disease, the possible involvement of other organs and finally decide on the optimal therapy.
The continuous progress achieved in recent years has made numerous therapeutic options available, including different types of medical therapy, cardiac surgery, ablation of arrhythmias, transvenous or subcutaneous defibrillators (S-ICD), pacemaker implantation (also for resynchronization) up to heart transplant, when necessary.
Few other areas of cardiology have seen such a significant contribution from scientific research, with improved diagnosis and therapeutic management. Consequently, excellent results have been obtained with reduction or abolition of symptoms, an increase in the quality of life and working capacity, and a reduction in mortality, both for heart failure and cerebral embolism, and for sudden death from ventricular arrhythmias.