Dilated, Non-Ischemic

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease that causes the left ventricle to stretch abnormally. This stretching thins, or dilates, the ventricle and prevents it from pumping blood as effectively as a healthy heart can. Finding a specific cause for an individual case of dilated cardiomyopathy may be difficult, especially in patients with multiple risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, coronary artery disease or a family history of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy can include the following: 

  • Chest pain (angina) 
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) 
  • Cough 
  • Fatigue and the inability to engage in an active lifestyle 
  • Shortness of breath during vigorous activity or when lying down 
  • Dizziness or fainting 
  • Swelling in the ankles, legs or feet 
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites) 
  • Weight gain 
  • Change in appetite 
  • Increase in symptoms after a meal


Diagnosing and Treating Dilated Cardiomyopathy
If your doctor suspects dilated cardiomyopathy, one the following diagnostic tools may be used:


Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy can often be treated with medication alone. If medication is not sufficient, other options may be necessary:

  • pacemaker is a small device inserted into the chest to control the rhythm of the heart
  • left ventricular assist device is a small device inserted into the chest to help the heart pump blood efficiently
  • Heart transplant is the surgical replacement of the patient’s heart with that of an organ donor


Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing dilated cardiomyopathy at the following convenient locations.