Personalized Treatment for Inherited Cardiac Disease

Heart conditions caused by genetic abnormalities can be passed down through families. When adults or children are diagnosed with these heart conditions, it is important to have a doctor evaluate other family members.

Penn Medicine has partnered with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to create a special program for patients with inherited cardiomyopathies. Through the Penn Center for Inherited Cardiac Disease, teams from Penn Medicine and CHOP work together to ensure that patients and their entire families receive the best care possible.

Cardiomyopathies are diseases in which the heart muscle becomes enlarged or weakened, preventing it from working as well as it should. There are different types of cardiomyopathy and specific types can run in families:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy: The pumping chambers of the heart are abnormally large and weak.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: The pumping chambers of the heart become abnormally thick.
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy: The right pumping chamber becomes abnormally large and weak.
  • Non-compaction cardiomyopathy: The walls of the heart muscle fail to develop normally.

Signs and Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Someone may have a cardiomyopathy for years without knowing it or experiencing any signs or symptoms. Without treatment, all types of cardiomyopathy have the potential to develop signs or symptoms, and those symptoms may get worse over time. For some people, the symptoms can get worse quickly. For others, cardiomyopathy may take a long time for symptoms to increase. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and sometimes sudden death.

Risk of Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathies make it harder for the heart to pump blood and deliver it to the rest of the body. If one person in a family is diagnosed, it is important that a cardiologist evaluate other family members to assess their risk. Each type of cardiomyopathy is treated differently.

In most cases, the family members do not have cardiomyopathies. Evaluation by the Penn Center for Inherited Cardiac Disease can identify those family members who are affected and provide them with the best treatment from two nationally recognized cardiac care teams.

The cardiomyopathy teams from CHOP and Penn Medicine are among the best in the country in the treatment and management of cardiomyopathies and heart failure.

A Team with Exceptional Breadth and Depth

The familial cardiomyopathy team is comprised of some of the world's finest physicians and surgeons from:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular surgery
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Electrophysiology
  • Genetics
  • Heart failure
  • Imaging services
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Reproductive services (pre-pregnancy counseling and prenatal care)
  • Transplantation

Experience patients can rely on

Patients can expect a great experience because: 

  • Teams of experienced cardiologists from two nationally recognized medical centers treat both children and adults diagnosed with cardiomyopathies.
  • Penn's Heart Failure and Transplantation Program includes doctors, nurses and genetic counselors with expertise in diagnosing and treating cardiomyopathies in adults.
  • Genetic counselors provide counseling for the whole family and genetic testing as needed.
  • Penn has received the Get With The Guidelines®— Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association.

Physicians with credentials that translate to the best in quality care

Penn physicians are able to provide quality care because:

  • Penn's cardiologists are board certified in cardiovascular medicine and many are fellowship trained in advanced heart failure and transplantation.

In This Section

Penn CHOP Partnership

Learn about the relationship between Penn Medicine and CHOP which benefits patients with familial cardiomyopathy

Treatment Team

Cardiologists and geneticists at Penn and CHOP are leaders in the Philadelphia region for the treatment of inherited cardiomyopathies.

Patient Stories

Inspirational stories about patients with inherited heart diseases who were treated at Penn

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