Classification, Epidemiology, and Global Burden of Cardiomyopathies

Circ Res. 2017 Sep 15;121(7):722-730. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.309711.


In the past 25 years, major advances were achieved in the nosography of cardiomyopathies, influencing the definition and taxonomy of this important chapter of cardiovascular disease. Nearly, 50% of patients dying suddenly in childhood or adolescence or undergoing cardiac transplantation are affected by cardiomyopathies. Novel cardiomyopathies have been discovered (arrhythmogenic, restrictive, and noncompacted) and added to update the World Health Organization classification. Myocarditis has also been named inflammatory cardiomyopathy. Extraordinary progress accomplished in molecular genetics of inherited cardiomyopathies allowed establishment of dilated cardiomyopathy as mostly cytoskeleton, force transmission disease; hypertrophic-restrictive cardiomyopathies as sarcomeric, force generation disease; and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy as desmosome, cell junction disease. Channelopathies (short and long QT, Brugada, and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia syndromes) should also be considered cardiomyopathies because of electric myocyte dysfunction. Cardiomyopathies are easily diagnosed but treated only with palliative pharmacological or invasive therapy. Curative therapy, thanks to insights into the molecular pathogenesis, has to target the fundamental mechanisms involved in the onset and progression of these conditions.

Keywords: cardiomyopathies; genetics; heart transplantation; myocarditis; sudden death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathies / classification*
  • Cardiomyopathies / epidemiology*
  • Cardiomyopathies / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathies / therapy
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction