Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

Cardiomyopathy, Heart Failure and Transplantation

Personalized care for children with weakened hearts

The NewYork-Presbyterian Congenital Heart Center Program for Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, Heart Failure, and Transplantation brings together a wide range of pediatric heart specialists to care for children with complex congenital heart disease and severe heart disorders such as cardiomyopathy and other causes of advanced heart failure. A combined program of the pediatric centers of NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, your child is in the expert hands of a team renowned for excellence in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery and committed to providing our patients with the safest, most advanced techniques available to extend survival and improve quality of life.

What is cardiomyopathy?

doctor greeting child

Cardiomyopathy is a disease in which there is an abnormality of the heart muscle. As a result, the muscle may become weak, thick, thin, or stiff. The disease affects the lower pumping chambers (ventricles) of the heart, and may cause the heart to fail to pump blood well enough to meet the body’s needs.

Cardiomyopathy has many possible causes. There may be no known cause (idiopathic cardiomyopathy). The disease can have a genetic cause, meaning that a gene mutation is passed down through families. It can also result from infection (myocarditis) or a more generalized disease (such as metabolic syndrome, muscular dystrophy or collagen vascular disease). Finally, toxic agents such as chemotherapy drugs can be another identifiable cause of cardiomyopathy in children and adolescents. Cardiomyopathy can be diagnosed at any point throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence, and may even be diagnosed prenatally.

Several different types of cardiomyopathy exist, and the specific symptoms of each type vary from person to person. In some affected individuals, no symptoms may be present (asymptomatic). However, in many people, cardiomyopathy is a progressive condition that may impair the heart’s ability to pump blood. Other symptoms include fatigue, irregular or rapid heartbeats (tachycardia), and, potentially, heart failure, which can lead to death.

The four types of cardiomyopathy are:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy - the most common cause of heart failure in children in which the heart’s left ventricle is enlarged and weakened.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy  - abnormal thickening of the heart's left ventricle or the wall between the two ventricles in which patients may be prone to serious arrhythmias, sudden death and/or diminished heart function.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy  - a rare condition in which the heart muscle becomes stiff and cannot fully expand to allow enough blood to enter its lower chambers. Although rare, it often can lead to end-stage heart failure symptoms requiring transplantation.
  • Non-compaction cardiomyopathy - a form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscle is abnormally formed; the heart can become stretched, as in dilated cardiomyopathy, or stiff, as in restrictive cardiomyopathy, or thickened as in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Some children exhibit symptoms of cardiomyopathy at birth. Other children have no symptoms until they are older. Symptoms of cardiomyopathy in newborns include:

  • Fast breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Excessive sweating
  • Poor weight gain
  • Irritability or unresponsiveness
  • Unusual skin color

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy in older children include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath when exercising or decreased exercise tolerance
  • Stomach problems: recurrent vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, inability to eat
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Bloating, or distended belly
  • Unusual skin color

Our Approach to Care

Supporting Your Child’s Heart Through the Age Span

Expert and Collaborative Care

We specialize in caring for children with all types of cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Our pediatric cardiologists closely collaborate with pediatricians, pediatric heart surgeons, pediatric anesthesiologists, critical care and cardiovascular support specialists to create a customized care plan for your child.

Continuity of Care from Infancy to Adulthood

One vital aspect of our program is continuity of care. Our team cares for our patients both in our outpatient offices and when admitted to the hospital. If a child with cardiomyopathy ultimately needs a heart transplant, available at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, the same team continues to provide seamless care, giving the family and child much-needed continuity. With the proper cardiomyopathy and heart failure management, many children may never need a transplant.

As a result of over 35 years of successful pediatric heart transplantation, the heart transplant team at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is uniquely poised and committed to providing ongoing care to our patients. Many patients are transplanted at less than one year of age, and our team cares for them until they are young adults, after which they transition to our adult cardiologist colleagues. Through our multidisciplinary transition of care program, we actively collaborate with the adult practitioners to make the process of transition to adult care as seamless as possible. We take extreme pride in watching our patients flourish and attain their dreams.

Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care

The Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit serves the needs of critically ill infants, children, and adolescents in need of specialized heart care, including those recovering from a heart transplant. This specialized unit is staffed by a highly skilled team of intensivists from multiple subspecialties, including anesthesiology, pediatric cardiology, pediatric heart surgery, neonatology (newborn care) and critical care.

Parents As Team Members

As a parent, only you can provide important information about your child, especially how they were before becoming ill, and how they are feeling now. You can also help other team members shape your child's personalized treatment program based on your child's physical, emotional, and practical needs. Your input is critical for making final decisions regarding your child's care and our multidisciplinary team is here to work alongside you and your family to achieve the greatest possible outcomes for your child.

Why Choose Us

Nationally Ranked in Pediatric Cardiology

U.S. News & World Report has ranked NewYork-Presbyterian among the top pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs in the country, reflecting our reputation and excellent outcomes, the expertise of our pediatric heart care teams, our high volume of cases, and other data related to patient care.

World-Class Pediatric Heart Transplant Program

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is one of the largest and most successful pediatric heart transplant centers in North America and the world – due to the dedication and expertise of our heart transplant team, the use of assist devices in managing heart failure, and the application of novel immunosuppression protocols.

  • Our program has pushed the envelope for transplantation in complex congenital heart patients, patients with elevated pressure in the lungs, and elevated preformed antibodies, providing transplants to many children who are turned down by other institutions and programs.
  • From 2016 to 2019, we performed 104 pediatric heart transplantations, which is the most in the United States.
  • Our 1-month, 1-year, and 3-year post-transplant outcomes far exceed the national average.

Leaders in Cardiomyopathy, Heart Failure and Transplantation Research

The pediatric heart specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley are leaders in research on cardiomyopathy, heart failure treatment, and transplantation to advance knowledge and improve care for these conditions.

  • NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital has been designated as a Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF)-Accredited Center of Care Program for its excellent outcomes and participation in multiple NIH and industry-sponsored trials related to genetics, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure.
  • One of the founding members, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital has a leadership role in the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society, which consists of over 60 institutions across the globe and is responsible for a significant proportion of multi-institutional research related to pediatric heart transplantation today.
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is an active research site in many multi-center studies for children with cardiomyopathy and heart transplant. These include the NIH-sponsored Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation in Children (CTOT-C) consortium beginning in 2009, the NIH-sponsored PumpKIN (Pumps for Kids, Infants and Neonates), the Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry (PCMR), among others, including NIH, foundation and industry-funded studies.

Leaders in Cardiomyopathy, Heart Failure and Transplantation Research

The pediatric heart specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley physicians are leaders in research on cardiomyopathy, heart failure treatment, and transplantation to advance knowledge and improve care for these conditions.

  • NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital has been designated as a Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF)-Accredited Center of Care Program for its excellent outcomes and participation in multiple NIH and industry-sponsored trials related to genetics, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure.
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley has a leadership role in the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study Group, consisting of 23 institutions across North America and is responsible for a significant proportion of multi-institutional research related to pediatric heart transplantation today.
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley is an active research site in an NIH Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) grant beginning in 2004 and multiple studies through the NIH-sponsored Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation in Children (CTOT-C) consortium since 2009.

Contact us

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NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

212-305-6575 Program for Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, Heart Failure, and Transplantation

212-305-8509 Cardiology

212-305-5975 Cardiac Surgery

NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens

NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital