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In its simplest form, cardiomyopathy (CMP) can be defined as a cardiac disorder involving myocardial dysfunction. Though there are various formal definitions of CMP in the literature, the two major ones are from the World Health Organization (WHO) and from the American Heart Association (AHA). The WHO definition is more clinical, while the AHA definition is more molecular and scientific in its delineation. For the purpose of this chapter, we follow the simpler definition by WHO as it lends itself well to the echocardiographic evaluation of cardiomyopathies.

Cardiomyopathies can also be defined by their etiology, as was done also by the WHO task force in 1995. Since the etiology may not always be obvious, such as in many cases of dilated CMP, this classification is also less useful when discussing the general principles of echocardiographic diagnosis of CMP. The various types of cardiomyopathies, as classified by WHO, are listed in Table 14-1. Each type of CMP can have various etiologies, the discussion of which is beyond the scope of this chapter (see suggested reading list for further information). The various etiologies are nonetheless listed in Table 14-2. Table 14-3 demonstrates the key elements in the echocardiographic evaluation of a patient with a CMP.

TABLE 14-1The WHO Classification of Cardiomyopathies
TABLE 14-2Partial Listing of Etiologies of Cardiomyopathies
TABLE 14-3The Key Elements in the Echocardiographic Evaluation of a Patient with a CMP

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