One disease that Pennsylvania doctors may misdiagnose is cardiomyopathy. People who suffer from the condition may not exhibit any symptoms or signs. In some cases, the indications do not present in people who are in the disease’s early stages. However, as the heart becomes weaker, there are typically signs of heart failure.

One of the main symptoms of cardiomyopathy is shortness of breath, especially with physical exertion. Other signs include fatigue; heart murmurs; irregular heartbeat; dizziness; and swollen neck veins, feet, legs, ankles and abdomen. People with cardiomyopathy also may experience chest pains after physically exerting themselves or eating a heavy meal.

In order to diagnose cardiomyopathy, a physician will evaluate the medical and family background of the patient as well as the results of tests and a physical exam. Specialists, such as a cardiologist, or a pediatric cardiologist if the patient is a child, may be consulted.

As part of taking the medical and family histories, the physician will inquire about anyone in the patient’s family who had heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or cardiomyopathy. The patient also will be asked about what type of symptoms or signs he or she may be experiencing.

During the exam, the physician will use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs and heart for any sounds that may indicate the presence of cardiomyopathy. The doctor also will look for certain physical signs, such as the buildup of fluid that causes swelling in the ankles, feet, legs or abdomen, which can be an indication of heart failure.

An attorney that practices medical malpractice law may assist clients whose medical conditions were misdiagnosed or who received negligent medical care. Financial compensation may be pursued for anesthesia errors, wrong-site surgeries, prescription mistakes or failures to diagnose that led to worsened medical conditions.