In this section
Care for children with cardiomyopathy is complex and requires the expertise of a pediatric cardiologist, and possibly a heart surgeon, electrophysiologist or a geneticist. Treatment depends on the type of cardiomyopathy and how soon it is detected. At early stages, medications and a pacemaker or defibrillator may be recommended. Having an experienced physician team such as the one at Herma Heart Institute is critical since children with advanced cardiomyopathy may require surgery or heart transplantation. Read more.
What is cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively. In some instances, heart rhythm is disturbed, leading to irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias. There may be multiple causes of cardiomyopathy, including viral infections. Sometimes, the exact cause of the muscle disease is never found.
How does cardiomyopathy differ from other heart disorders?
Cardiomyopathy differs from many of the other disorders of the heart in several ways, including the following:
- Cardiomyopathy can, and often does, occur in the young.
- The condition is fairly uncommon, affecting only about 50,000 Americans (adults and children).
- Cardiomyopathy is a leading cause for heart transplantation.
- The condition tends to be progressive and sometimes worsens fairly quickly.
- It may be associated with diseases involving other organs, as well as the heart.
Why is cardiomyopathy a concern?
Cardiomyopathy prevents the heart muscle from pumping enough blood to meet the body's needs.
What causes cardiomyopathy?
Viral infections that infect the heart are a major cause of cardiomyopathy. In some instances, cardiomyopathy is a result of another disease or its treatment, such as complex congenital (present at birth) heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, uncontrollable, fast heart rhythms, or certain types of chemotherapy for childhood cancers. Sometimes, cardiomyopathy can be linked to a genetic abnormality. Other times, the cause is unknown.
What types of cardiomyopathy commonly affect children?
The following types of cardiomyopathy commonly affect children:
Pediatric heart surgery
As one of the busiest pediatric heart surgery centers in the country, our Herma Heart Center performs hundreds more operations than any other program in the state. Learn more.
Let us help you
Coming from out of town?
Traveling with a sick child to a new city can be stressful. We can make your visit to our hospital as easy as possible.
Traveling here locally?
Contact us for more information about the Herma Heart Institute. Request an appointment online or call (414) 607-5280 or toll-free (877) 607-5280.
Ranked #5 in the nation
U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked the Herma Heart Institute at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin among the top ten in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. This ranking reflects the excellent outcomes and care we provide for even the most complex heart conditions. Families travel from across the country, and even around the world, to receive care from our specialists who are experienced in treating congenital heart disease from before birth and into adulthood.