Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia
What is Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD)?
ARVD with ICD to Transplant
I woke up one morning and noticed something really scary. I had an amazing amount of fluid in my legs so that I could not even bend my knee. I knew something was wrong. Several doctors and tests later, my echocardiogram showed that the right ventricle of my heart was in heart failure. Eventually I was diagnosed with ARVD. I have since had implanted defibrillator therapy and a heart transplant.
The image above shows typical histologic features of ARVC/D. Ongoing myocyte death (black spots) with early fibrosis and adipocytes infiltration (white areas surrounded by pink heart muscle). (Used with permission. Courtesy of Thiene et al. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 2007 2:45 doi:10.1186/1750-1172-2-45.)
ARVD is estimated to affect one in 5000 people. The disease can affect both men and women. Although it is a relatively uncommon cause of sudden cardiac death, it accounts for up to one fifth of sudden cardiac death in people under 35 years of age. ARVD is also associated with sudden cardiac arrest in athletes.
Symptoms of ARVD include:
- Fainting (syncope)
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Sudden cardiac arrest
If you have symptoms of ARVD, they usually develop by the time you are 20 to 40 years old, although symptoms have been seen at all ages. ARVD is usually diagnosed using tests like an echocardiogram to look at the structure of your right ventricle and to measure how it is functioning.
You know your body well enough to tell when something doesn't feel right. Since symptoms of ARVD are similar to other heart problems, you should check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
How Is ARVD Treated?
Patients with ARVD should ask their physician about exercise or participation sports.