Pediatric Cardiomyopathy

Pediatric Cardiomyopathy

Pediatric cardiomyopathy is a heart condition where the heart muscle and its surrounding tissue become abnormally enlarged or thick.

What is Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart and its tissue become infected, making it difficult for the heart to fill with and pump blood. This can be a direct result of weakened heart muscles (possibly hereditary), exposure to toxins, chemotherapy, or medical conditions like myocarditis (viral infection) and muscular dystrophy. Cardiomyopathy can be chronic (ongoing) or progressive (gets worse as times goes on).

What are the different types of Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

The most common type, this occurs when the muscle fibers are enlarged or stretched in one or more chambers of the heart.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

The second most common type, this is defined by abnormal growth and muscle fiber arrangements, leading to extreme thickening of the heart walls.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)

This rare type is a result of the pumping ventricle not relaxing, allowing blood to back up in upper chambers, causing them to become enlarged.

Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC)

This rare type causes deep grooves in the lower chambers, creating the appearance of a loose texture of fibers.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

This extremely rare condition is where the heart muscle cells become disorganized and are replaced by fatty tissue.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Infants (birth to 1 year*)

  • Quick, heavy breathing with feedings
  • Poor weight gain
  • Lethargy or inactivity
  • Swollen belly, face or legs

Older children and adolescents (1-19 years**)

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decrease in endurance
  • Cough or trouble breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swollen belly, face or legs

*Age limit of infants defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
**Age limit of pediatric/child age group defined by the WHO.