Unlike heart disease due to heart attacks, where there is a problem with adequate blood flow to the heart, cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle itself.
There are many causes of cardiomyopathy, which may include coronary artery disease and heart valve disease.
Cardiomyopathy occurs in three major types—dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive—all of which affect your heart’s ability to pump blood and deliver it to the rest of your body.
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease, also commonly called coronary artery disease, is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the arteries that provide the heart muscle with blood.
The disease occurs when these arteries become hardened and narrowed. The arteries harden and narrow due to buildup of a material called plaque on their inner walls. The buildup of plaque is known as atherosclerosis.
As the plaque increases in size, the insides of the coronary arteries get narrower and less blood can flow through them. Eventually, blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced, and, because blood carries much-needed oxygen, the heart muscle is not able to receive the amount of oxygen it needs.
Reference and Publication Information
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients. The content on this page was originally created on May 5, 2006 by UNOS and last modified on March 11, 2012. The following sources were used as references:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, retrieved May 11, 2006.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, retrieved May 11, 2006.
American Heart Association, retrieved May 11, 2006.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, retrieved May 11, 2006.
Mayo Clinic, retrieved May 11, 2006.