Which physical findings are characteristic of dilated cardiomyopathy?

Updated: Mar 02, 2021
  • Author: Vinh Q Nguyen, MD, FACC; Chief Editor: Gyanendra K Sharma, MD, FACC, FASE  more...
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On physical examination, look for signs of heart failure and volume overload. Assess vital signs with specific attention to the following:

  • Tachypnea

  • Tachycardia

  • Hypertension or hypotension

Other pertinent findings include the following:

  • Signs of hypoxia (eg, cyanosis, clubbing)

  • Jugular venous distension (JVD)

  • Pulmonary edema (crackles and/or wheezes)

  • S3 gallop

  • Enlarged liver

  • Peripheral edema

The level of cardiac compensation (or decompensation) determines which signs are present.

Look for the following on examination of the neck:

  • Jugular venous distention (as an estimate of central venous pressure)

  • Hepatojugular reflux

  • a wave

  • Large cv wave (observed with tricuspid regurgitation)

  • Goiter

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