What Is the Treatment for DCM?
Treatment of DCM is aimed at correcting the cause of the condition wherever possible. Another major goal is to decrease the heart size and decrease the substances (hormones) in the bloodstream that enlarge the heart and ultimately lead to worsened symptoms. Patients usually take several medications to treat the heart failure. Doctors also recommend a variety of lifestyle changes.
What Drugs Are Used to Treat DCM?
To manage heart failure, most people improve by taking drugs, such as a beta-blocker,ACE inhibitorsor an ARB, and/or diuretics. If you have an arrhythmia, your doctor may give you a medication to control your heart rate or lessen the occurrence of arrhythmias. Blood thinners may be used to prevent blood clots from occurring. Your doctor will discuss what medications are best for you.
What Lifestyle Changes Are Recommended With DCM?
Lifestyle change can make a big difference in DCM and your heart health. Changes which are recommended include:
- Diet. If heart failure is a problem, sodium (salt) should be restricted to 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day. This diet should be continued even once the symptoms abate.
- Exercise. Your doctor will tell you if you may exercise or not. Most people with cardiomyopathy are encouraged to do non-competitive aerobic exercise. Heavy weight lifting is not recommended.
What Surgeries Are Used to Treat DCM?
People with severe DCM may need one of the following surgeries:
- Cardiac resynchronization (CRT) by biventricular pacemaker. For some individuals, stimulating (pacing) both the right and left ventricles improves the heart’s ability to contract with more force, thereby improving symptoms and increasing the length of time you are able to exercise. You may be a candidate for this special pacemaker if your electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram reveal specific characteristics, and you are still having symptoms of heart failure although you’re receiving optimal medical therapy. This pacemaker also will help people with heart block or some bradycardias (slow heart rates).
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD). ICDs are suggested for people at risk for life-threatening arrhythmias or sudden cardiac death. The ICD constantly monitors the heart rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to the heart muscle to cause the heart to beat in a normal rhythm again.
- Surgery such as conventional surgeries used to treat coronary artery disease or valve disease may be used. Some individuals may be eligible for surgical repair of the left ventricle or other devices.
- Heart transplant
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