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Cardiomyopathies represent a group of diseases of the myocardium of the heart and include diseases both primarily of the cardiac muscle and systemic diseases leading to adverse effects on the heart muscle size, shape, and function. Traditionally cardiomyopathies were defined according to phenotypical appearance. Now, as our understanding of the pathophysiology of the different entities classified under each of the different phenotypes improves and our knowledge of the molecular and genetic basis for these entities progresses, the traditional classifications seem oversimplistic and do not reflect current understanding of this myriad of diseases and disease processes. Although our knowledge of the exact basis of many of the disease processes of cardiomyopathies is still in its infancy, it is important to have a classification system that has the ability to incorporate the coming tide of molecular and genetic information. This paper discusses how the traditional classification of cardiomyopathies based on morphology has evolved due to rapid advances in our understanding of the genetic and molecular basis for many of these clinical entities.