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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What is the normal life expectancy with mild cardiomyopathy?

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Dr. Karen Steinberg

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1981

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Posted on Tue, 12 Aug 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: my husband has mild cardiomyopathy. he also has a LBB (slight delay) and was diagonosed almost 10 years ago at age 55. he is now almost 65. his EJ faction was 55 last time he had an echo one year ago. its been in that range all along, tho his nuclear text 10 years ago said 52. he is on metaprolo 25mg and was taking a cholesterol drug for the first 9 years but had to stop because it made him feel achy all over...joint aches and tired. he feels much better off of it. he is a smoker. his cholesterol levels are good. he shows no outward signs of heart failure but his cardiologist calls it CHF. i would like to know why it is considered heart failure if his EJ is at low normal....but within normal. will he have a normal life expectancy?
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Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
It could be diastolic heart failure

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thank you for using Healthcare Magic. You would have to ask the cardiologist the specifics, but perhaps he has mild diastolic heart failure which can be associated with a normal ejection fraction. The EF is the percentage of blood pumped out of the left ventricle during systole, the active beat. If, for example, there are 100 cc of blood in the heart at the beginning of systole, if 50 cc are pumped out, that would be an EF of 50%. However, if there is a problem where the ventricle doesn't fill completely with blood during the resting period (diastole), perhaps because of an arrhythmia or valve problem (which often occur with cardiomyopathy), then even if 50% is pumped out, it's still not adequate to supply the body's needs (eg, if it only fills with 50 cc, 25 cc pumped out would be still be 50% but too low). (Note- these are not real numbers, I am just using them as an example.) The force of the beat can also be decreased by cardiomyopathy, which may result in low blood pressure and heart failure. If the diastolic failure is mild, he may not notice any symptoms, or only may have them with exertion.

The fact that he's had this for almost 10 years and the problem has not progressed is reassuring for living a near normal lifespan. It's good that he quit smoking and is maintaining healthy habits. This will help a great deal to give him a long healthy life.

Hope this answers your query. If you have more questions, I would be happy to answer them.
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