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Dilated Cardiomyopathy

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) develops when one or both of the ventricles (lower chambers of your heart) are damaged and become enlarged. The enlarged ventricles are too weak to pump blood to your body.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

DCM may become life-threatening. DCM can cause your heart, lungs, and kidneys to stop working, or blood clots to form.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Intake and output:

Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.

Medicines:

  • Diuretics help your body release fluid that has built up.

  • Blood pressure medicines lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow through your heart. Blood pressure medicines may include ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, or nitrates.

  • Heart medicines help regulate your heart rhythm and strengthen your heartbeat.

  • Anticoagulants help prevent blood clots.

Monitoring:

  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm.

  • Pulse oximetry measures the oxygen level in your blood.

Tests:

  • An x-ray or MRI will show the size and thickness of your ventricles or if your heart is enlarged. If you have an MRI, you may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • An echocardiogram uses sound waves to take pictures of your heart. The pictures show the size of your ventricles, and how well they are pumping blood.

  • Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to see inside your heart and its blood vessels. X-rays and dye injected into your heart's blood vessels allow your caregiver to see blood move through your heart. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

Treatment:

  • A surgically implanted device , such as a pacemaker or ventricular assist device (VAD), may be placed in your chest. The device may regulate your heartbeat or help your heart pump blood to your body.

  • Surgery may be done to treat other heart conditions and reduce your symptoms.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Dilated Cardiomyopathy (Inpatient Care)

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