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Ignorance at it’s best :The Adrenal connection of dilated cardiomyopathy ?

Posted Dec 24 2012 10:55pm

The popular clinical  entity Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy   is often a  “dust-bin diagnosis” . The fact is the word   idiopathic simply reflects  our ignorance.

For God nothing is idiopathic . . . he knows how each and every cell  would   behave  .

so , when a patient presents with progressive dilatation and  heart failure refractory to all medical  therapy he is termed as idiopathic and posted for heart transplantation. And only later , we realize the whole thing is due  a  terrible form of reversible  DCM  . That is  pheochromocytoma  induced DCM , which recurred again in the   transplanted  heart.  What a  costly  Ignorance ?

pheochromocytoma and dilated cardiomyopathy reversible dcm tachycardic

Image courtesy and source .

Is sub- clinical pheo like situations rampant ?

We know  that  high levels of both epi and nor- epinephrine circulate  in cardiac failure . We presume it  to be a secondary effect .

How can  we  so sure about it ?  There  is a distinct  possibility  of   adrenal gland hyperfunction  and hyperplasia in all DCMs (Idiopathic or ischemic ! )  The dramatic beneficial effects of beta blockers in cardiac failure  will vouch for it .

So , It remains a fertile filed for the youngsters to explore . . . the hyper  adrenergic mediated reversible component of any cardiomyopathy and cardiac failure .

Final message

The default  approach  in any  patient with progressive / refractory cardiac failure   should  be  ,  to consider  whether they fit into  any form of reversible myocardial disease  .  What is idiopathic in remote clinic of   your distant  country side  may be  well recognized secondary cardiomyopathy . The irony is , even sophisticated university hospitals many times miss the true etiology as in the above case report .

                                  So, the term Idiopathic  dilated  cardiomyopathy  (iDCM )  may  aptly be named as  Ignorant  forms  of  DCM  , with an  attractive  abbreviation    . . .   iDCM


2.Kelley SR , Goel TK , Smith JM . Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2005 Summer;20(3):117-9. Pheochromocytoma presenting as heart failure.

pheochromocytoma and dcm dilated cardiomyopathy .catecholamine induced dcm tachycardiac cardiomyopathy

pheochromocytoma and dcm dilated cardiomyopathy .catecholamine induced dcm tachycardiac adrenal cardiomyopathy

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