Dilated cardiomyopathy is a term used to describe a condition of the heart in which one or more of the chambers of the heart enlarge, or dilate. There are many diseases that can cause a heart to dilate including coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, metabolic diseases of the heart, infections and in some cases the cause is not determined. In dilated cardiomyopathy the heart fails to pump adequately. This can result in symptoms such as breathlessness, weakness and swelling.
Figure 1: Normal heart with strong muscular walls that pump blood out of the heart. This heart is shown contracting and pushing blood out of the heart.
Figure 2: Heart with dilated cardiomyopathy. This heart has a large left ventricle with thin walls. This heart is shown contracting, but is unable to push as much blood out of the heart.
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