Idiopathic Cardiomyopathy

Reliable estimates of the prevalence and incidence of idiopathic dilated (congestive) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathies are unavailable because of their comparatively uncommon occurrence in the general population. The National Center for Health Sta- tistics data from 1996 assigned 27,501 deaths to cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy accounting for only 1 percent.435 Alcoholic heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) appears to account for 8 percent of deaths due to cardiomyopathy. This condition appears to be 2.5 times as frequent in blacks as in whites. Mortality from cardiomyopathy was highest in older persons, men, and blacks. Death rates rose sharply in the 1970s and 1980s but for reasons that are unclear. This apparent increase could be an artifact of changes in diagnostic criteria and death certification practices. In 1997, cardiomyopathy was the primary diagnosis for 39,000 hospitalizations and 261,000 days of hospital care, but 443,000 hospitalizations had cardiomyopathy listed as a secondary diagnosis8 (see also Chaps. 72 and 73).

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