My father has a dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. What is his risk of dying?

Hi Dr T, My father, aged 53 - was diagnosed with a dilated cardiomyopathy. Upon diagnosis he was informed that he could die the next day or in ten years time, and they had no clear understanding of it but they recommended more tests. He did not go in for further tests and it has been five years, and we cannot persuade him to find out more about his condition, as he himself does not want to know about his prognosis. He is an alcoholic, has smoked for 40 years, has done literally no exercise, he lies in bed nearly all of the time, has an incredibly unhealthy diet and has admitted to not properly taking the medication of 30 pills a day.Is there anything I need to look out for, and will I be able to estimate how long he has left? Thank you.

There are many reasons for cardiomyopathy. As an alcoholic and a smoker he is likely to have a dilated cardiomyopathy as well as coronary artery disease and hypertension. As far as the risk of cardiomyopathy is concerned, it is the severity of each that which will determine his prognosis. Cardiomyopathies are often associated with heart failure:

and/or arrhythmias:

Please check these links for more information about palpitations and arrhythmias:

It appears that his heart failure is less severe than initially estimated, or would not be alive today.
Hope this helps,
Dr T


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