The goals of treatment for cardiomyopathy are to manage your signs and symptoms, prevent the conditioning from worsening and reduce your risks of further complication. Treatment methods – medications, surgery, pacemakers and, in the most severe of cases, heart transplants – vary greatly depending upon the type of cardiomyopathy you have.
Taking Care of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
If you are diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, your WellStar Cardiac Network Physician may prescribe medications or suggest surgically implanted devices as part of your treatment. Medications you may be prescribed include:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These medications help ease pressure on blood vessels by blocking the formation of natural chemicals that narrow the vessels, thus decreasing the workload on the heart. Examples include enalapril (Vasotec®), lisinopril (Prinivil®, Zestril®) and captopril (Capoten®).
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers. These medications help relax blood vessels by blocking the action – not the formation – of natural chemicals that narrow vessels. These include losartan (Cozaar®) and valsartan (Diovan®).
- Blood thinners or Anticoagulant (Anti-clotting) drugs. These medications prevent blood clots from forming in your heart or in your blood vessels.
- Digoxin (Lanoxin®). This medication, also known as digitalis, may decrease the frequency of congestive heart failure and tends to slow the heartbeat.
- Diuretics. Sometimes called “water pills,” these medications work on your kidneys to help your body eliminate sodium and water, thus reducing blood volume. Diuretics most often prescribed for heart failure include bumetanide (Bumex®) and furosemide (Lasix®). Because diuretics also cause you to eliminate essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium, your WellStar physician may also prescribe supplements or a diuretic that maintains certain mineral levels.
- Beta blockers. Usually combined with a diuretic, these medications reduce the heart’s workload and expand blood vessels, thus causing your heart to work slower and with less force. These may include carvedilol (Coreg®), metoprolol (Lopressor®) and bisoprolol (Zybeta®).
Because cardiomyopathy patients are at greater risk for lethal arrhythmias, surgically implanted devices may be necessary and would be implanted by an electrophysiologist.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD), a heart-monitoring device that shocks your heart back into normal rhythms, or cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), a type of pacemaker, which may prevent recurring episodes of congestive heart failure, may be necessary.
Taking Care of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Similarly with dilated cardiomyopathy, your WellStar Cardiac Network Physician may prescribe a combination of medications (beta blockers are most common) or surgically implanted devices if you have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Taking Care of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy with Surgery
As with the other two forms of cardiomyopathy, your WellStar physician may prescribe a combination of medications or surgically implanted devices if you have been diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy.