What is heart muscle?

Heart is a hollow muscular organ the size of a fist; its walls are formed mainly of striated cardiac muscle. Septum divides the heart into right and left halves, each of which is formed by the atria and ventricles. The direction of blood flow within the heart is controlled by valves. Individual fibers of the heart muscle are connected to the network, their cell walls permeable. With this heart can quickly slide.

Heart disease is congenital or acquired disease, which resulted in a change of heart muscle. Depending on the cause, doctors distinguish between so-called idiopathic cardiomyopathy and specific. Also doctors distinguish hypertrophic, dilated and restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Today, it is discovered gene mutations that cause this cardiomyopathy. During the illness it is not only a thickening of the heart muscle, and changes in its structure: muscle fiber “roll”, get big, get strange forms. The first symptoms of the disease appear in childhood: shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heart rate, changes in the heart muscle can be seen on an electrocardiogram. Screening with ultrasound shows impaired activity of the heart muscle.

Usually, the heart muscle thickens due to defects of the heart or blood vessels expand. However, the coronary vessels are not growing at the same time with the heart, which causes a lack of the oxygen attack.

The disease is treated with medication. Sometimes patients need heart transplants.


  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Palpitations.

Congestive cardiomyopathy

Congestive cardiomyopathy is a common disease of the heart muscle. Most men suffer from the disease than women. The disease can be recognized by characteristic symptoms of heart failure and heart rhythm disorders: shortness of breath, wheezing, irregular heartbeat, swelling around the ankles, fatigue, and in some cases the pain in the heart, and hemoptysis. Congestive cardiomyopathy is usually treated with medications, which are designed to eliminate cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is manifested by rapid expansion of the heart chambers with reduced left ventricular contractility. It usually occurs in conjunction with hypertension, aortic stenosis, holes, and coronary heart disease. Primary treatment for the disease – a heart transplant.

In diseases of the heart muscle the risk of embolism increases, so drugs that reduce blood clotting are appointed. Especially effective drug – acetylsalicylic acid. It’s a severe disease with frequent fatal. In some cases, a heart transplant is necessary.

When cardiomyopathy, patient needs special diet that is recommended by his doctor. It is especially important to limit the amount of salt and fluid. It is required to reduce excess weight.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is rare. The cause – the inflammation of the heart muscle or a complication after surgery on the heart valves. In this case, the heart muscle and its sheath regenerate into the connective tissue, slowing the ventricular filling with blood. Symptoms – severe shortness of breath, very fatigue, heart failure, or valvular heart disease. Restrictive cardiomyopathy is very dangerous for children. For the treatment doctors use drugs that improve cardiac performance, and diuretics.


Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) is focal or diffuse, covering the whole heart muscle, inflammation of the myocardium. More common is mild forms of myocarditis. However, in severe cases, in those places where there was inflammation, scars may remain, causing violations of pulse propagation on the cardiac conduction system and the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmia. Failure of the heart appears, the heart muscle thickens.

Inflammation of the heart muscle causes various diseases. Usually it is an inflammatory disease, which are affected the heart. With active rheumatoid arthritis myocarditis is possible. The main cause of myocarditis – bacterial and viral infections, such as tonsillitis, diphtheria, scarlet fever or influenza, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. If you have one of these conditions should be strictly in bed. In addition, inflammation of the heart muscle may occur in allergic diseases and diseases of the immune system. Usually, however, the cause of myocarditis is unknown. It can depend on the epidemiological situation in the region, for example, in Europe and North America myocarditis is often caused by viruses. It is assumed that many viral infections affect the heart muscle, but it is not always a distinct clinical symptom.


Up to that point, until after the inflammation or the underlying disease, the patient should strictly comply with bed rest and avoid exercise. Thus the patient’s heart protects against excessive load and residual effects. Usually, this treatment is sufficient. If myocarditis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed. For example, for diphtheria, bacterial toxins are dangerous, so an antidote is prescribed for patient. When cardiac arrhythmias, reduced pressure or heart failure symptoms, doctors conduct medical treatment.

If the infectious disease the patient has weakness, irregular heartbeat or other heart rhythm disorders, you should consult your doctor. When fatigue, shortness of breath when during exercise, shortness of breath, anxiety, you should also seek medical advice.

With percussion and auscultation of the chest doctor will determine whether the patient’s heart is healthy. With suspected inflammation of the heart muscle, doctor will appoint an electrocardiogram, an X-ray of the chest. When viewing an x-ray the doctor determines whether the blood flow slowed down due to heart failure. With suspected acute myocarditis doctor immediately refer the patient to the hospital.

Course of the disease

If during the period of inflammation you did not protect the heart muscle, it can be lost parts of muscle tissue at the place of death which form scars. As a result, the heart rhythm is disturbed, and sometimes there are changes in the heart muscle. Sometimes after a while after suffering myocarditis weakness and shortness of breath may occur. They are associated with the expansion of the heart chambers. Course of the disease depends on the age of the patient. Course of the disease with rapid progression and fatal outcome is possible in small children and the elderly. In other age groups, disease prognosis is favorable.

In the presence of a cold or infection, you should be in bed. In no case do not exercise; do not visit a bath or sauna, as this increases the risk of cardiomyopathy.