What is Cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is a disease that can lead to heart failure, heart rhythm problems, or sudden cardiac arrest. There are several types:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy, where the heart is enlarged and has trouble pumping.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the heart wall is thickened, and the heart has trouble filling with blood.
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy, where the walls of the heart are stiff and can’t relax properly.
Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy
In the early stages of cardiomyopathy, there might not be any symptoms. As the condition worsens, symptoms tend to intensify and may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the ankles, feet and legs
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Sudden weight gain
UR Medicine's Treatments for Cardiomyopathy
- Medications. Many prescription medications are available to help improve symptoms, boost heart function, and increase survival rates.
- Surgery. Removing part of the thickened heart wall can lead to major improvement. We offer septal myectomy, an open-heart procedure to thin one wall of the heart to increase blood flow.
- Alcohol septal ablation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. UR Medicine Cardiac Care is one of the few centers in the country that can perform this specialized procedure to remove part of the thickened wall of the heart.
- Implantable defibrillator. If you’re at risk of sudden cardiac death, your cardiologist may recommend an implantable defibrillator. If your heart stops, a shock from the defibrillator can restore your heart’s normal rhythm.
- Pacemaker. For some patients, a pacemaker can help regulate the rhythm of the heart.
- Ventricular assist device. A VAD is a mechanical device that helps your heart pump. In severe cases of heart failure, VADs are able to dramatically improve symptoms.
- Heart transplant. In serious cases of cardiomyopathy, a heart transplant may be required.
What Sets Us Apart?
Our groundbreaking approaches at UR Medicine Cardiac Care are giving heart failure patients greater hope than ever before.
Our program is the first in the region to receive Advanced Certification from the Joint Commission for Heart Failure and for Ventricular Assist Devices.
We’re the only center in upstate New York to perform heart transplants, with outcomes comparable to the best heart transplant centers in the nation.
We’re one of the five largest VAD (ventricular assist devices) programs in the nation. Launched in 2001, our program has participated in nearly every major clinical study involving VADs.
We’re the first team in the nation to implant a VAD by using the Sternal Sparing technique, which uses two small incisions instead of “cracking open” the chest. This means shorter hospitalizations, fewer complications and less pain—all contributing to a quicker return to normal life. Our pioneering work led to FDA approval, allowing other heart centers to follow our lead and benefit other patients.
We’re also one of the world's leading research centers on implantable defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy.
And UR Medicine Cardiac Care is the area's only center to receive a Gold Plus Performance Award from the American Heart Association, meeting the highest standards for treating heart failure, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
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