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Pediatric Cardiomyopathy

What is Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Pediatric cardiomyopathy is a heart condition that causes the heart muscle and its surrounding tissue to become abnormally enlarged or thick. Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart and its tissue become infected, making it difficult for the heart to fill with and pump blood.

What are the different types of Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of cardiomyopathy, and occurs when the muscle fibers are enlarged or stretched in one or more chambers of the heart.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is the second most common type of cardiomyopathy that is defined by abnormal growth and muscle fiber arrangements, leading to extreme thickening of the heart walls. 

Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is a rare type of cardiomyopathy that 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)

Left ventricular non-compaction is a rare type of cardiomyopathy that causes deep grooves in the lower chambers, creating the appearance of a loose texture of fibers.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy is an extremely rare condition 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.

What are the causes of Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy can be chronic (ongoing) or progressive (gets worse as times goes on) and can be a direct result of:

  • Weakened heart muscles (possibly hereditary)
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medical conditions like myocarditis (viral infection)
  • Muscular dystrophy