Cardiomyopathy Treatment

The goals of cardiomyopathy treatment are to:

  • Manage your symptoms
  • Prevent your condition from worsening
  • Reduce your risk for complications

Determining your Treatment Options

At Fletcher Allen, we develop personalized treatment plans for every patient. The treatment course your team of physicians recommends depends on the results of your diagnostic testing and which types of cardiomyopathy you have, among other factors.

Cardiomyopathy Treatment in Burlington, VT

Cardiomyopathy treatment options at Fletcher Allen include:

Surgically Implanted Devices

  • Pacemaker
  • ICD (Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator)
  • VAD (Ventricular Assist Device

Cardiac Catheterization

  • Alcohol Septal Ablation

Surgery

  • Heart Transplant
  • Septal Myectomy

Medications

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
  • Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
  • Beta Blockers
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium Channel Blockers

Surgically Implanted Devices for Cardiomyopathy

Sometimes your heart needs some help from medical devices, including:

  • Pacemaker
    A pacemaker helps your heart beat at a regular rate.
  • ICD(Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator)
    An ICD is a special type of pacemaker that monitors your heart rate and gives electrical shocks when necessary.
  • VAD (Ventricular Assist Device)
    A VAD is also known as a heart pump, and can be implanted in the chest or worn outside the body. It is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the rest of your body. VAD used before a heart transplant can help people live until they receive the transplant.

Cardiac Catheterization for Cardiomyopathy

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where a thin flexible tube (cardiac catheter) is inserted in your groin (femoral artery). Then the catheter is threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. Cardiac catheterization procedures avoid major surgery and a lengthy recovery.

  • Alcohol Septal Ablation
    When the area of the heart muscle that divides the right and left chambers (septum) becomes too thick, the lower left heart chamber (left ventricle) becomes blocked and it is unable to pump normally. The thickened septum is reduced in size by injecting alcohol through a catheter to destroy some of the heart muscle. This decreases the left ventricle's blockage and improves its pumping ability.

Surgery for Cardiomyopathy

Your cardiologist may recommend surgery if medicines do not help relieve severe symptoms of heart failure.

  • Heart Transplant
    Usually a heart transplant is a last resort if you have severe cardiomyopathy and medications can't control your symptoms.
  • Septal Myectomy
    In this surgery, part of overgrown heart muscle is removed. Usually the extra muscle tissue is found in the septum, which divides the left and right lower heart chambers (ventricles). An overgrown septum can block the left ventricle's functioning and limit blood flow out of the heart. Most people who have this surgery recover well and end up with fewer symptoms. After surgery, physical activity is easier, too.

Medications

Medications may be prescribed alone or in combination with other cardiomyopathy treatments. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following:

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
    These medicines reduce the formation of angiotensin, a substance that causes blood vessels to constrict, resulting in increased blood pressure. ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and reduce strain on the heart.
  • Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
    These drugs block the action of angiotensin, preventing and limiting its negative impact on the blood vessels and the heart. They may be an alternative for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors.
  • Beta Blockers
    Beta blockers help decrease the demand on your heart, helping the heart muscle to relax, slowing your heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
    This drug, also known as digitalis, increases the force of your heart muscle's contractions, helping it beat more strongly.
  • Diuretics
    Also known as water pills, these drugs help reduce fluid buildup in the body. They can lessen congestion in the lungs and reduce swelling in the abdomen, legs and feet.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
    Help stabilize your heart rate by reducing the number of electrical impulses that pass through parts of the heart.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-4600.