Cardiomyopathy represents a diverse and heterogenous group of disorders affecting the myocardium and ultimately resulting in cardiac dysfunction. The prevalence of heart failure is high (5 million symptomatic patients in the United States) and increasing. Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of hospitalization in patients older than 65 years of age, resulting in enormous healthcare expenditure and lost productivity. Ischemic cardiomyopathy accounts for about half of these patients, but in several large clinical trials the prevalence of potentially reversible nonischemic cardiomyopathy is also significant, ranging from 20% to 50%. There is epidemiological evidence that the prognosis of these reversible nonischemic cardiomyopathies is better than ischemic or other nonreversible cardiomyopathies. Early and precise diagnosis of the etiology of heart failure is important for determining prognosis and effective treatments.