Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
The heart experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center diagnose and treat people with restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), a life-limiting heart condition.
Our specialized team uses the most advanced, evidence-based technologies and techniques to evaluate and treat people who have this serious illness.
Skilled Care for a Life-Limiting Heart Condition
Restrictive cardiomyopathy – the rarest form of cardiomyopathy – is a disorder in which the heart’s muscular layer becomes stiff. This condition hinders the heart’s ability to contract and impedes blood flow.
The symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy can mimic those of constrictive pericarditis in some cases.
UT Southwestern’s experienced heart doctors skillfully diagnose and treat restrictive cardiomyopathy. Our specialized team delivers the most advanced treatments and technologies available for this life-limiting heart condition.
UT Southwestern is also home to a dedicated Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Cardiac rehabilitation is a critical component of recovery and can prevent future heart disease.
Causes of Restrictive CardiomyopathyCauses of restrictive cardiomyopathy include:
- Hemochromatosis: A
disorder in which the blood contains excess iron
eosinophilia: A white blood cell disorder
- Sarcoidosis: An
inflammatory disease marked by lesions in organs
- Carcinoid syndrome: A
rare condition caused by hormone secretions of carcinoid tumors
- Endocardial fibroelastosis: A rare heart disorder in children
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy Symptoms
The symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy are similar to those of heart failure, and they usually develop gradually. These symptoms can include:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Fainting (syncope)
- Fluid accumulation in
- Shortness of breath and
- More comfort when
sitting than when lying down
- Bulging or enlarged neck
- Heart palpitations
- Swelling of legs
caused by fluid retention
Diagnosing Restrictive CardiomyopathyUT Southwestern cardiologists might perform several tests to diagnose restrictive cardiomyopathy. Common diagnostic tests include:
- Cardiac catheterization: To assess
coronary vessel anatomy and distinguish restrictive cardiomyopathy from
constrictive pericarditis; can include an endomyocardial biopsy at the same
time to establish a diagnosis
- Chest X-ray: To look for
congestion in the cardiac blood vessels
- Echocardiography: To look at the
heart chambers and see if the ventricle walls are thickened or the size of the atria
- Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG): To
detect low voltage in heart rhythms
- Physical exam: To check heart rate, strength of pulse, and other vital signs, as well as to listen with a stethoscope for a loud diastolic murmur with mitral/tricuspid insufficiency
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy Treatments
Our heart specialists work to identify the cause of restrictive cardiomyopathy and treat it. If the cause can’t be found, we treat the symptoms with medications such as blood thinners, diuretics, and vasodilators.