This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle which primarily affects the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. It is the most common type of cardiomyopathy and typically affects those aged 20 to 60. The left ventricle of affected individuals becomes enlarged (dilated) and cannot pump blood to the body with as much force as a healthy heart can. The heart muscle also has difficulty contracting normally, which can lead to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), blood clots, or sudden death. Over time, the heart becomes weaker and heart failure can occur. While the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is often unknown (idiopathic), some cases are acquired and roughly half are inherited or familial. Also, DCM can be a feature of many genetic syndromes. Familial dilated cardiomyopathy is most often inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Familial dilated cardiomyopathy is caused by mutations in several different genes, most commonly in the TTN gene (found in about 20% of cases). DCM treatment may include medication, pacemakers, implantable cardiac defibrillators, or heart transplantation.
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