Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy or ARVC belongs to the inherited condition that affects the functionality of the heart muscle. An individual acquires the symptoms of the disease because of inheritance. The cause of the occurrence is due to the mutation in one or more number of genes. The chances of acquiring inheritance theory from one individual to another. Although an individual inherits the mutation, one may not develop the condition.

How Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy Affects The Heart?

The genes are responsible for the production of proteins that are capable of holding the cells within the heart muscles together. For individuals suffering from arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, the production of the protein is low, and therefore, they develop the condition because the cells present within the heart muscle are free causing it to expand.

The condition affects the right ventricle. However, it can also affect the left ventricle. A change to the heart muscle causes the walls of the ventricle to stretch and become weak. Because of this change, it becomes difficult for the heart to pump blood as required to the body. It is here that the heart functions under extreme pressure to deliver the blood to fulfill the demands of the body.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy also causes abnormal heart rhythms. The occurrence is due to the destruction of the electrical impulses as they pass through the scarred muscle cells. The occurrence of this state takes prolonged period, and therefore, many people may not find it in the early stage.

What are the Symptoms of ARVC?

What are the Symptoms of ARVC?

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy or ARVC has four phases of symptoms. It is not necessary for an individual to display one or more or all the phases at all times. Many people with the mutation may not develop any symptoms at all. The four phases are:

Phase 1: The concealed phase where an individual experiences small changes in the right ventricle.

Phase 2: The overt phase where an individual displays noticeable structural changes that affect the functionality of the heart and develops abnormal heart rhythms.

Phase 3: The weakening of the right ventricle phase where the right ventricle becomes weak.

Phase 4: The weakening of the left ventricle phase where the left ventricle becomes weak.

The following are the symptoms that an individual suffering from arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy experiences:

  • Increased palpitations
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Swollen ankles and legs
  • Swelling in the abdominal region
  • Sudden cardiac arrest due to exertion

Diagnosing Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy

It is challenging to diagnose arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. The reason is that the changes to the heart muscle develop in an irregular pattern. The symptoms mentioned above also occur due to any underlying condition. Due to this, it becomes difficult to find the presence of it in its early stage.

It is possible for a specialist to suspect the presence of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy because of the symptoms explained by an individual. The suspicion arouses further when the doctor learns about family medical history. To confirm the presence of the condition, undergoing tests will be helpful. The common tests include ECG, echocardiogram, stress test, CT scan, chest x-ray, and MRI scan.

Treatment

Importance of treatment is to identify the patients who are at risk of acquiring sudden cardiac death, to prevent and control arrhythmias, and to improve the functionality of the heart. As arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy is not curable, focusing on the symptoms will be helpful in reducing the condition, and control it further with the help of medicines.

Conclusion

Upon experiencing these symptoms, it is preferable to seek an appointment with the doctor and undergo the needed diagnosis procedure to confirm the presence. Based on the results, the doctor will provide the required treatment that helps in reducing the symptoms and increase the functionality of the heart.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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