Dr. Campbell: George Michael’s death sheds light on heart conditions

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Pop Icon George Michael died suddenly in December and the world mourned his loss. At the time of his death, very little information was provided as to the exact cause—now new information has been released.

An autopsy report indicated that Michael died from dilated cardiomyopathy, myocarditis and was found to have a fatty liver.

1. What exactly is a dilated cardiomyopathy and myocarditis?

While these conditions can be related, it is important to understand that myocarditis refers to the inflammation of the heart muscle. This inflammation can be caused by an infection—most commonly from a virus. A dilated cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle becomes weakened and dilated and can no longer pump blood effectively to the rest of the body.

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2. What are the causes and symptoms of a dilated cardiomyopathy?

There are several causes of dilated cardiomyopathy—some common causes include alcohol abuse, viral infections (and myocarditis), heart valve problems, as well as exposure to certain chemotherapy drugs. In some cases no cause is identified and we call that idiopathic.

Symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling of your legs
• Fatigue
• Weight gain
• Fainting
• Palpitations (fluttering in the chest due to abnormal heart rhythms)
• Dizziness or lightheadedness

3. How does Dilated Cardiomyopathy cause death?

The most common reason for death in dilated cardiomyopathy is a cardiac arrest that is due to an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. Other causes of death include congestive heart failure as well as other organ system failures.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter.

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