Cardiomyopathy is defined as degeneration of the heart muscle. As a result of this degeneration, the muscle becomes thinner, particularly the thick muscle wall of the left ventricle. The pressure of the blood inside the heart causes these thin walls to stretch resulting in a much larger heart. This condition is described as Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Heart failure is a clinical syndrome that occurs secondary to severe, overwhelming cardiac disease. It occurs because the heart is no longer able to maintain normal venous/capillary pressures, cardiac output, and/or systemic blood pressure.
A heart murmur is a swishing or whooshing sound heard when there is turbulent or abnormal blood flow across the heart valve.
Mitral Valve Disease
The heart has four chambers. The upper chambers are called atria (the right atrium and left atrium) atria and the lower chambers are called ventricles (right ventricle and left ventricle). The heart is also divided into right and left sides. Because of the high pressure created when the left ventricle contracts and pumps blood out to the body, the mitral valve may begin to ’wear out’ and leak over time. This is known as mitral valve insufficiency (MVI) or mitral regurgitation and is often associated with a heart murmur.