How to Cite This Chapter: Connolly K, Van Spall HGC, Ahsan S, Wodniecki J, Leśniak W. Cardiomyopathies. McMaster Textbook of Internal Medicine. Kraków: Medycyna Praktyczna. Accessed July 15, 2024.
Last Updated: May 4, 2022
Last Reviewed: May 4, 2022
Chapter Information

Definition and ClassificationTop

Cardiomyopathies are myocardial disorders in which the myocardium is structurally and functionally abnormal in the absence of significant coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease, or congenital heart disease. These 4 conditions can cause left ventricular dysfunction from ischemia, infarction, volume overload, or pressure overload and are excluded from the classification scheme of cardiomyopathies by the European Society of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

While classification schemes vary, cardiomyopathies are typically classified according to morphologic phenotypes, which can be further divided into familial or nonfamilial forms.


1) Dilated cardiomyopathy.

2) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

3) Restrictive cardiomyopathy.

4) Arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy.

5) Unclassified cardiomyopathy.

Each of the above 5 types of cardiomyopathy can be further classified as:

1) Familial (genetic) cardiomyopathy: Occurrence in more than one family member of a phenotype caused by the same genetic mutation or a de novo mutation in an index patient that can be transmitted to offspring.

2) Nonfamilial (nongenetic) cardiomyopathy: Either idiopathic (of an unknown cause) or acquired (associated with toxins, infections, other diseases).

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