Cardio Myopathy literally means “heart muscle disease” in which heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick, or rigid. As it progresses, the heart becomes weaker and gets less able to pump blood through the body and maintain a normal electrical rhythm. This can lead to irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, causing fluid to build up in the lungs, ankles, feet, legs, or abdomen.
The main types of Cardio Myopathy are:
Dilated Cardio Myopathy
Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy
Restrictive Cardio Myopathy
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia
Most people are only mildly affected by it and can lead relatively normal lives. However, people who have severe heart failure may need a heart transplant.
Generally, there are four things that are known to cause Cardio Myopathy.
Viral infection : A viral infection in the heart can damage the heart muscle, but the damage may not show for months or longer.
Alcohol: Drinking more than two standard drinks a day can damage the heart and liver. Sometimes damage to the heart can be reversed completely if the patient quits drinking alcohol completely.
Family history: A family history of Cardio Myopathy (when more than one of the relatives has Cardio Myopathy and the cause is not known), the chances of developing it can increase significantly.
Heart attack: Heart attacks can severely damage the heart muscle, leaving behind a scar tissue where the actual damage is done to the heart muscle.
Genetic deficiency: Like in Duchenne muscular Dystrophy where lack of Dystrophin protein production leads to dilated heart. Symptoms
The symptoms may depend on the type of Cardio Myopathy. It may present at any age, causing:
Breathlessness on exercise
Collapse with loss of consciousness
Tiredness and general lack of energy
Blood clot formation with pulmonary emboli or stroke
Medical history and a physical exam are two cornerstones to diagnose Cardio Myopathy. During the visit to the doctor, patients are asked about the family's medical history, including heart problems and sudden death in cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents; symptoms, including when they first appeared, how long they last, circumstances in which the symptoms occur. Once this information has been obtained, follow-up testing will be recommended and may include any of the following:
Ultra-fast CAT scan
Electrophysiology Study (EP)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Polysomnogram (Sleep Study)
Nuclear Cardiac Stress Testing: Thallium Scans
Cardio Myopathy can be managed and improve by taking medicines, having treatments to relieve symptoms, and making a few simple lifestyle changes.
ACE inhibitors block the effects of some hormones that affect the blood pressure to dilate blood vessels, which help to reduce the workload of heart.
Fluid pills (diuretics) help to rid of excess fluid in the body.
Beta-blockers block the effect of nerves that act on the heart and other parts of the body to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces heart’s workload.
Anti-coagulant (warfarin) thins blood to prevent it clotting. Regular blood tests are required to monitor this medicine and its effect on the body.
Rhythm control drugs (antiarrhythmics) help to control heart’s rhythm. Other medicines may be needed depending on body’s condition. Surgery is recommended for some types of Cardio Myopathy, such as familial hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy (an inherited type of Cardio Myopathy where heart muscle has severe thickening).
Stem Cell Treatment
Stem cell research continues to show that adult stem cells can help Cardio Myopathy patients. Before the stem cell therapy, there was really no treatment for Cardio Myopathy, just a drug regimen to minimize the symptoms of the dreaded heart disease eventually resulting in congestive heart failure and then a heart transplant or death.
The doctors at Stem Cell India Research Centre, transplant stem cells directly into the heart muscle during bypass surgeries for optimum results. Such treatments result in new muscle fibers, called cardiac myocytes that develop in patients and give a high success rate. But a less invasive technique of transfusion of adult stem cells is also giving fairly good results in certain types of cardiomyopathies.
These stem cells could be of various types viz. Hematopoietic (CD 34+), Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are processed and isolated using Good Manufacturing Products (GMP) and Good Lab Practices (GLP) and in accordance with AABB standards. These stem cells are procured from various sources including bone marrow, peripheral blood, cord blood, fat etc. as per the requirement of the patient.