Conditions We Treat

There are several types of cardiomyopathies that can affect children. Our multidisciplinary team of experts is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating all cardiomyopathies. When caught early, we can better manage your child’s symptoms and change the progress of the disease.

Understanding the different types of cardiomyopathies

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). In this most common form of cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle becomes enlarged and stretched (dilated), causing the heart to become weak and not pump well. There are many possible causes of DCM in children. It may be caused by genetic changes that run in families, abnormalities of the heart valves or blood vessels (coronaries), infection, muscular dystrophies (genetic disorders of the skeletal and heart muscle), or toxic drugs such as those used for cancer treatments.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This type creates thicker-than-normal heart muscle and puts children at risk for heart rhythm abnormalities, which in turn can cause fainting or, rarely, unexpected sudden cardiac arrest. About half of all children with this disease inherited it as a mutated or damaged gene, which may affect other family members.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM). In this uncommon disease, the heart ventricles become stiff and can’t relax to allow blood flow. RCM can be caused by inherited genetic changes that affect the heart muscle or exposure to cancer therapies, such as radiation, but the cause is often unknown.
  • Left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy (LVNC). An abnormality of how the heart muscle develops, forming increased ridges in the heart pump muscle. The heart function may be normal or decreased; muscle walls can be thin or thickened and can vary over time. Conduction abnormalities in the heart and increased risk for blood clot formation can occur.
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC is a rare type of inherited cardiomyopathy that occurs when the muscle tissue in the right ventricle has scar tissue. The left ventricle is often affected as well. The scar tissue disrupts the heart's electrical system, causing arrhythmias or abnormal heart beats.

Treatments available for cardiomyopathies

At Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, we offer proven treatments and specialized procedures and surgeries to care for your child’s cardiomyopathy, starting with the most advanced diagnostics available.