Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

A  rare type of cardiomyopathy, when part of the muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fat, which can lead to heart failure and heart rhythm disorders.

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What is ARVC?

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a heart condition that can lead to a weakening of the heart muscle of the right ventricle. It is predominantly a genetic condition, although it can also develop in people naturally.

AVRC occurs because cells in the heart muscle don’t develop properly, causing the right ventricle of the heart’s muscle is replaced by fat and/or fibrous tissue. This results is the right ventricle becoming thin and stretched, preventing blood from pumping from the heart to elsewhere in the body as it should. The cause is variable and unpredictable but it can lead to shortness of breath, abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure and in some cases cardiac arrest.

Need to know

Many people with ARVC can experience no symptoms for a long time, although they can develop and become worse over the time.

These symptoms might include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations with unpleasant awareness of the heartbeat
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath when lying down or during physical exertion
  • Swelling in the legs and other areas

Unfortunately, in some cases patients may not have any symptoms at all before experiencing heart failure or a cardiac arrest. Therefore, if you have a relative with ARVC it may be beneficial to have a consultation.

If your consultant thinks you might you have ARVC, there are a number of tests available. A Holter monitor is the main way to detect heart rhythm problems.

Other tests include:

With world-class cardiac facilities, we're able to offer effective treatments for arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. If you're diagnosed with ARVC, your cardiology consultant will discuss your treatment options with you. These might include:

  • blood thinners to prevent blood clots
  • catheter ablation
  • having an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted
  • medicines to control your heart's beats and rhythms
  • medicines to help stop abnormal heart rhythms
  • pills to reduce fluid retention
  • medicines to reduce your heart's workload

Our ARVC locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Cardiac Clinic

The Cardiac Clinic

London Bridge Hospital SE1 2PR London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.