For Cardiac Sarcoidosis Patients

What does it mean when your doctor writes “Non-Ischemic Cardiomyopathy” on your chart?

Background Information

  • Non-Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a generic term which includes all causes of decreased heart function other than those caused by heart attacks or blockages in the arteries of the heart.
  • The most common causes of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy are viral infection (viral myocarditis), drug reactions, inflammation or autoimmune reactions (lupus myocarditis, etc) or infiltrative processes (sarcoid, amyloid, etc).
  • Normal heart function, or ejection fraction (EF), is 55-65%. This means that with each beat, the heart pumps 55-65% of the blood inside the heart to the rest of the body.

Cardiomyopathy implies some decrease in EF to less than 50% (which is considered borderline or low normal.)


  • Shortness of breath
  • Edema or swelling
  • Fatigue, especially with exertion
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Shortness of breath when lying down

Diagnostic Tests

  • Ultrasound of the heart (Echocardiogram)
  • Stress testing (occasionally)
  • Angiogram (rarely)
  • Some blood tests may be helpful in making the diagnosis


  • Beta-blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, carvedilol, etc) can relax the heart, lower blood pressure and slow the heart to improve filling and pumping function.
  • Medications classified as ACE-inhibitors (lisinopril, enalapril, etc) or ARB’s (losartan, candesartan, etc) can also lower blood pressure, relax the heart and improved blood flow to the kidney.
  • Diuretics may be used to remove excess fluid.
  • Spironolactone can also be used to remove fluid and help relax the heart.
  • Pacemakers or defibrillators may be recommended in some cases.
  • Other treatments may be considered depending on the cause of the cardiomyopathy