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Restrictive Cardiomyopathy gets its name because the condition restricts the heart from stretching properly. While the rhythm and pumping action of the heart may be healthy, the stiff walls of the heart chambers prevent them from filling normally. As a result, blood flow is reduced, and blood that would normally enter the heart is backed up in the circulatory system. Eventually, the heart fails.

Causes of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
Restrictive cardiomyopathy is the least common form of cardiomyopathy. One known cause is Amyloidosis, a condition sometimes associated with cancers of the blood. Proteins from certain blood cells get deposited in the heart tissue, making the tissue stiff and thickened. Another known cause is hemochromatosis, an inherited disorder that results in excessive iron buildup in the body. Sarcoidosis, a disease in which inflammation occurs in lymph nodes, lungs, liver, eyes, skin, and other tissues also may lead to restrictive cardiomyopathy. In other cases, diseases create deposits that can make the heart walls thick and stiff.

Symptoms of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
Symptoms are similar to those of congestive heart failure: weakness, fatigue, and breathlessness. Swelling (edema) of the legs occurs in many patients. Other symptoms may include nausea, bloating, and poor appetite, these symptoms most likely result from the retention of fluid around the liver, stomach, and intestines. Arrhythmia and heart block are also common in patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Diagnosis of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
Restrictive cardiomyopathy needs to be diagnosed accurately because it can be mistaken for constrictive pericarditis, a condition where the membrane surrounding the heart (the pericardium) becomes inflamed and thickened. Surgery can frequently correct constrictive pericarditis. On the other hand, restrictive cardiomyopathy cannot be corrected surgically. Instead, attention is directed toward controlling its symptoms. Treatment of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
Restrictive cardiomyopathy generally cannot be reversed. Medical experts currently have no means of repairing severely damaged heart muscle. Therefore, treatment is confined to controlling its symptoms. Drugs are sometimes used to lessen the heart’s workload and to regulate the heart’s rhythm. When the condition becomes severe, a heart transplant may be necessary.