Assignment of patients into the classification of cardiomyopathies.
The original classifications of the cardiomyopathies based on anatomic criteria from radiographic and necropsy studies, as well as hemodynamic criteria from clinical and catheterization data, have been supplemented in recent years by information from noninvasive techniques. Echocardiography, radionuclide methods, and ambulatory ECG, in particular, have facilitated the ethical screening of family members and those less symptomatic than patients on whom the original classification was based. These powerful methods show a broad spectrum of anatomy and ventricular physiology along the natural history of and within the traditional categories of the cardiomyopathies. They also provide data on the effect of ventricular loading conditions affecting a range of diastolic filling patterns. This review has attempted to point out the areas of overlap among and/or controversy about the categories that have led us to a feeling of frustration when trying to neatly classify individual patients. The addition of filling patterns from Doppler echocardiography and nuclear angiography to the standard methods has been reviewed and hopefully will lend more perspective to the range of physiology seen in these conditions. The categories of cardiomyopathy should not be seen as excluding patients with the newly recognized variations in anatomy and ventricular filling patterns. Rather, the classification provides a framework on which to build and expand our understanding of these important conditions.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association