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Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) is a disease of your heart muscle that causes your ventricles to become stiff or weak. The ventricles are the 2 lower chambers of your heart. They pump blood to your lungs and the rest of your body. When the ventricles are stiff or weak, your heart does not fill with enough blood. This decreases the blood and oxygen supply to the rest of your body.


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.

Monitoring:

  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
  • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.
  • Pulmonary artery catheter: This is a balloon-tipped catheter (thin tube) inserted through a vein in your neck or groin. The pulmonary artery (PA) catheter goes into the right side of your heart and continues to your pulmonary artery. The balloon is inflated to wedge the catheter in place. The PA catheter has a device in it that measures the pressure in your heart and lungs. The catheter is attached to a monitor that shows the pressure measurements. The measurements can also show caregivers how your heart responds to certain heart medicines.
  • Weight: You may be weighed each day. Caregivers compare your weight from day to day to record how much body fluid you have. You can become dehydrated if you lose too much. You can have shortness of breath or swelling in your legs if you retain too much.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: A sample of your blood may be sent to the lab for tests. These tests tell if your organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are working correctly.
  • Chest x-ray: This is used to check the size of your heart and look for fluid around your heart and lungs.
  • An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to show the structure and function of your heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to look for or treat a heart condition. A catheter is inserted in your arm, neck, or groin and moved into your heart. Contrast liquid is injected into an artery and x-rays of your blood flow are taken. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • Tissue biopsies: During this test, a small sample of tissue is taken from your heart or tissues in your body. It helps caregivers see if you have scarring in your heart and learn the cause of your RCM.

Medicines:

  • Diuretics: This medicine helps decrease fluid around your lungs and heart. It will also decrease extra fluid in your legs and ankles. You will urinate more often when you take diuretics.
  • Blood thinners: Blood thinners help prevent blood clots.
  • Heart medicine: This medicine helps strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.
  • Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.

Treatment:

  • Pacemaker: This device is placed under your skin to help regulate your heartbeats.
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillator: A cardiac defibrillator is placed under your skin to help prevent life-threatening arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats).
  • Left ventricle assist device (LVAD): This device is placed under your skin to help your heart pump better. You may need an LVAD while you are waiting for a heart transplant.
  • Heart valve surgery: You may need to have a heart valve repaired or replaced so your heart can pump enough blood to your body. Heart valves allow blood flow between the chambers of your heart.
  • Heart transplant: During a heart transplant, your diseased heart is removed and replaced with a donor heart.

RISKS:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection after surgery. Without treatment, your heart may get weaker and your symptoms may get worse. You may have abnormal heartbeats, trouble breathing, or get a blood clot. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke. Fluid may build up in your lungs and body. This may make it hard for you to breathe. Your liver and kidneys may fail. These problems can be life-threatening.

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.

© 2015 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.

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