Pediatric cardiomyopathy has a variety of causes, including genetic factors, viral infections like myocarditis, congenital heart disease, medication side effects, and more. Eventually, cardiomyopathy diminishes the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood throughout the body. In severe cases, cardiomyopathy can cause arrhythmias, heart failure, and sudden death.
Types of Cardiomyopathy
There are five main types:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This common type of cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle walls to thicken, forcing the heart to work harder and restricting the flow of blood leaving the heart. It can go undiagnosed because many people have no symptoms. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause sudden cardiac arrest, particularly in young and seemingly healthy athletes.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy: A defect in the heart muscle affects its ability to pump normally. The heart size is larger, but muscle walls are thinner and weaker than normal.
- Arrhythmic Cardiomyopathy: Also known as arrhythmic right ventricular cardiomyopathy or dysplasia, this disorder causes the heart muscle to turn to fat, causing dangerous arrhythmias.
- Non-Compaction Cardiomyopathy: The heart muscle develops abnormally, causing portions of the heart wall to remain spongy and project into the heart chamber.
- Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: The lower chambers of the heart become rigid and stiff, making it difficult for the heart to fill with blood during muscle relaxation.