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

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

  • What are the symptoms of ARVC? icon plus

    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.

  • How is ARVC diagnosed?  icon plus

    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:

  • What are my potential treatment options? icon plus

    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

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