Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Failing Hearts
26 October 2017

Failing Hearts

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle brought on by factors such as obesity, high-blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions add extra pressure onto the heart muscles, and so they can become weaker. In dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle of the left ventricle (the heart’s main pump) is affected in this way, meaning that blood isn’t pumped around the body as effectively as it should be. Pictured are sections of a mouse heart, with normal appearance on the left-hand side. The section on the right is from a failing heart, identifiable by the larger overall size of the heart and thinner muscle. It seems that the transition from an enlarged heart to heart failure occurs following a genetic ‘switch’, changing molecules in the heart cells that trigger a series of events which lead to declining heart function and eventual failure.

Written by Katie Panteli

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