Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the least-encountered form of cardiomyopathy, is a disorder in which the muscular layer of the heart becomes stiffer.

This affects the blood flow and the heart’s ability to contract. It mimics constrictive pericarditis in some cases.

Causes of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the least-encountered form of cardiomyopathy, is a disorder in which the muscular layer of the heart becomes stiffer.

This affects the blood flow and the heart’s ability to contract. It mimics constrictive pericarditis in some cases.

Other causes of restrictive cardiomyopathy include:

Carcinoid syndrome
Hormone secretions by tumors
Endomyocardial fibroelastosis
A rare heart disorder in children
Hemochromatosis
Excess iron in the blood
Idiopathic eosinophilia
A white blood cell disorder
Sarcoidosis
A disease marked by lesions in organs

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy Symptoms

Symptoms are similar to heart failure and usually develop gradually. The signs include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fluid collection in the abdomen
  • Gradual shortness of breath and fatigue
  • More comfortable sitting than lying down
  • Neck vein distension
  • Palpitations
  • Swelling of legs caused by fluid
  • Weakness

Diagnosis of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

Your UT Southwestern Medical Center doctor may perform several tests to diagnose restrictive cardiomyopathy. Common diagnostic tests include:

Cardiac catheterization
To assess coronary vessel anatomy and to distinguish restrictive cardiomyopathy from constrictive pericarditis; can also perform an endomyocardial biopsy to establish diagnosis
Chest X-ray
To look for congestion in the vessels
Echocardiography
To look at heart chambers, ventricle walls thickened, atria size increased
Electrocardiography
To detect low voltage in some heart beat patterns
Physical exam
To check for heart rate, pulse, and other vital signs
Stethoscope
Hearing loud diastolic murmur with mitral/tricuspid insufficiency

Treatment Options for Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

Our doctors work to find the cause and treat that first. If the cause can’t be found, our doctors try to control the symptoms with blood thinners, diuretics, and vasodilators.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a restrictive cardiomyopathy expert at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.