Children diagnosed with cardiomyopathy often require aggressive treatment specific to the type of cardiomyopathy they have and the extent of the damage to their hearts. The goal of treatment is to control or prevent congestive heart failure, improve heart function and prevent complications, such as arrhythmias and blood clots.

Treatment options include:

  • Drug Therapy — Medications may be used to treat the symptoms of cardiomyopathy. The specific drugs vary by the type of cardiomyopathy.
  • Implantation of a Pacemaker or Defibrillator — If drug therapy fails to alleviate heart obstructions or if your child has dangerous arrhythmias, a pacemaker or defibrillator may be inserted under the skin of the chest with wires that go through veins into the heart. The implantation is considered minor surgery requiring a short hospital stay. The pacemaker or defibrillator helps monitor and stabilize the heart.
  • Surgery — In some cases surgery is recommended to reduce the symptoms of heart failure.
  • Heart Transplant — Cardiomyopathy is the leading reason for heart transplantation in children. When a child is at the "end stage" of the disease and experiencing severe symptoms of heart failure, a heart transplant may be considered. It is a major operation with substantial risks including infection, organ rejection and coronary artery disease.

At this time, there is no cure or treatment for cardiomyopathy that is able to restore the heart to normal. However, some symptoms and complications can be controlled with the treatments listed above. The prognosis for children with cardiomyopathy varies considerably depending on the type of the disease they have and the severity of their symptoms.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Heart Center

Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
1975 Fourth St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1955
Fax: (415) 353-9144

Cardiothoracic Surgery Program
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-3501
Fax: (415) 353-4144

Pediatric Heart Center Clinic at Mission Bay
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2008
Fax: (415) 353-4144
Appointment information

Related Conditions