Genetic (inherited) cardiomyopathy describes a group of diseases involving the muscle of the heart that are caused by a change in a gene that the individual is born with.
Other types of cardiomyopathies can be caused by non-genetic or lifestyle factors e.g. viral cardiomyopathy.
Genetic testing can be used to identify variants in known associated genes. This can be helpful for diagnosing the condition in individuals who have a family history of cardiomyopathy, or who are experiencing symptoms of the condition. However, testing may also be inconclusive as not all cardiomyopathy genes have been identified.
Genetic testing is not always necessary for diagnosing cardiomyopathy. The condition can also be diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, such as the physiology and functioning of the heart, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Genetic counselling is recommended for individuals with genetic cardiomyopathy and their family members. This can help them understand the inheritance pattern of the condition and make informed decisions about family planning and medical management.
There is ongoing research into the genetics of cardiomyopathy, including efforts to identify new genes that may be involved in the condition and to develop targeted therapies based on specific genetic mutations. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more about current research opportunities).