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Learning your child has cardiomyopathy can be one of life’s scariest moments, and Atrium Health Levine Children’s is here to help. Our experts specialize in treating children with heart problems and have seen many children with cardiomyopathy. We can guide you through this diagnosis and use the latest treatments to put your child on course for a healthy, active life.

About Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy happens when your child’s heart muscle doesn’t work properly. This condition is usually hereditary, meaning it’s caused by genes that run in families. Our experts treat many different kinds of cardiomyopathy including:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): This condition usually starts in the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping system. With DCM, the heart muscle can become thin and enlarged, making it unable to pump blood correctly.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): HCM is where part of the heart becomes too thick and can’t pump blood throughout the body.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM): In this condition, the heart muscle becomes stiff, making it hard for the heart’s bottom chambers to fill with blood.
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD): In this condition, the heart’s right ventricle is made of fatty tissue instead of muscle. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood and often leads to an abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC): LVNC happens when the left ventricle is spongy instead of smooth. This may not cause any health problems for some kids, while it may cause other kids to have conditions like an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Our doctors closely monitor kids with LVNC and start treatment if they see signs of illness.
  • Pompe disease: This disease happens when your child’s body is missing an enzyme called acid alfa glucosidase (GAA). This makes it so their body can’t break down certain sugars. Pompe disease can cause kids to have an enlarged heart, an irregular heartbeat and lung problems.

Treatments

Our cardiologists, surgeons, nurses and other specialists use the latest treatments like:

  • Ventricular assist devices (VADs): A VAD is a small mechanical pump that doctors carefully place at the bottom of your child’s heart to help it pump blood. VADs can support your child’s heart for several years and are often used to help children waiting for a heart transplant. We’re home to some of the region’s most advanced VAD care, helping everyone from tiny babies to teenagers live well with this device.
  • Pacemakers: A small device placed in a child’s chest to help control irregular heart rhythm.
  • Enzyme infusion: If your child has Pompe disease, our doctors can give them an enzyme to help break down sugars. This makes it easier for the heart to function.
  • Myectomy: For children with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, our doctors will often make it easier for blood to flow by removing a small part of the heart’s wall.
  • Heart transplant: We’re one of the few hospitals in our region that offers pediatric heart transplants. Our team of imaging experts, surgeons and intensive care cardiologists work together to make this procedure as easy as possible on your child and family.

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