Risk Factors of Pediatric Cardiomyopathy
“Cardiomyopathy can occur in any child and be inherited or acquired through a viral infection or from cancer chemotherapy,” explains Steven Lipshultz, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital of Michigan and chair of CCF’s medical advisory board.
Since the majority of cardiomyopathies are inherited, understanding a family’s cardiac history is the best way to prevent premature death. Hereditary risk factors include having a family member who is disabled by heart disease, has died of heart disease before age 50, or was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, cardiomyopathy, Marfan syndrome, or a heart rhythm issue. Family members who exhibit symptoms such as chest pain, discomfort upon exertion, fatigue, fainting, or high blood pressure should be evaluated by a cardiologist.
Protecting Young Athletes At Risk of Pediatric Cardiomyopathy
Adolescents with an underlying heart condition such as cardiomyopathy are at a higher risk for SCA due to increased physical activity and certain body changes. SCA is the top cause of death on school property, and according to the American Heart Association these deaths occur most commonly in high-intensity sports.
To help keep young athletes safe, Senator Robert Menendez, Representatives Lois Capps and Bill Pascrell, Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association introduced the Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act, with provisions to protect student athletes from SCA.
Whether children are at home, in school, or on the sports field, it is important for parents to understand the symptoms and risk factors of the disease. For more information about cardiomyopathy, visit childrenscardiomyopathy.org.