Cardiomyopathies can be defined as disorders of cardiac muscle of unknown cause. This group of cardiac disorders has been the subject of intensive investigation in the last decade and much has been learned with regard to their pathophysiology. Unfortunately the aetiology remains essentially unknown and treatment is often empirical and relatively ineffective. These conditions must be distinguished from disorders which affect the heart muscle and other organs as part of a systemic disease, for which specific forms of therapy are in some instances indicated (Table 14.1).
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