The term cardiomyopathy is used to describe a group of diseases that directly alter cardiac structure and impair myocardial function. Four types of cardiomyopathy are currently recognized: (1) dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), (2) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), (3) restrictive cardiomyopathy, and (4) arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.1 It is acknowledged that there are some primary heart muscle disorders that do not fit readily into one of these four groups, and these conditions have been termed unclassified cardiomyopathies. Finally, the term specific cardiomyopathies is now used to describe heart muscle diseases that are associated with specific cardiac or systemic disorders. They often present with hemodynamic findings similar to those of the idiopathic dilated or restrictive form of cardiomyopathy. Some specific cardiomyopathies are listed in T.§b.!® 5.1-1. The cardiomyopathies, as a group, are the third most common form of cardiac disease encountered in the United States, following coronary (ischemic) heart disease and hypertensive heart disease. HCM is the second most common cause of sudden cardiac death in the adolescent population and the leading cause of sudden death in competitive athletes. 2
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