Noncompaction cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle condition that occurs in the left ventricle when the muscular wall of the main pumping chamber of the heart becomes spongy and “non-compacted”. This type of cardiomyopathy is not fully understood and is a topic of ongoing research. Moreover, it is difficult to predict the prognosis of people affected by this condition. Non-compaction cardiomyopathy is thought to result from a halt in the normal development of a fully thick compacted surrounding wall for the heart muscle. This abnormal development reduces the mass of the heart muscle and blood circulation.
Symptoms caused by noncompaction cardiomyopathy are not specific and are mainly determined by how much heart function is affected. Individuals who have the described structural features, but normal performance of the heart, may be entirely free of symptoms. Typical symptoms that may appear are usually:
- S.O.B. (shortness of breath)
- swelling of the lower extremities
- limited physical capacity and exercise intolerance
This condition is also thought to be associated with increased risk of blood clots in the meshwork of prominent heart muscle bands. In other words, the blood flow in this region is relatively slow compared to other parts of the heart. Another risk possibly associated with this condition is a fast cardiac rhythm, which may result in a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and, if not treated, death in rare cases.