Treatment for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) or cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a disease of the heart muscle. ARVD is a rare genetic disease. It replaces normal heart muscle with fatty fibrous tissue, mainly in the right ventricle. This interrupts normal electrical signals in the heart. It can cause irregular and possibly dangerous heart rhythms (arrhythmias). The heart also becomes weaker over time. This can lead to heart failure.


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Types of treatment

ARVD is treated by a cardiologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the heart.

ARVD can be treated with medicines. These include:

  • Medicines to help prevent abnormal heart rhythms (antiarrhythmics)

  • Medicines to control your heartbeat, such as beta-blockers

  • Water pills (diuretics) to reduce swelling

  • Medicines to reduce the workload of the heart, like ACE inhibitors

  • Blood thinner medicines (anticoagulants) to prevent blood clots

Other possible treatments include:

  • Catheter ablation. This is an option for some people with ARVD and abnormal heart rhythms. The doctor puts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel and guides it into your heart. There, he or she uses heat to destroy the cells that start abnormal heartbeats.

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is a small device put in your chest. It uses electrical shocks to control dangerous heart rhythms. This can help prevent sudden death. Your doctor will check your symptoms and test results to see if you need an ICD.

  • Heart transplant. In rare cases, a heart transplant may be needed if the damage to the heart is severe. This is currently the only known cure for ARVD.

Living with ARVD

Your cardiologist may give you instructions for how to manage your ARVD. These may include:

  • Limiting heavy physical activity

  • Treating any other heart conditions, such as high cholesterol

  • Losing excess weight

  • Quitting smoking

  • Eating a low-salt diet that’s healthy for your heart

  • Reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine in your diet (these increase the risk for abnormal heart rhythms)

  • Keeping track of your symptoms, such as fast weight gain or swelling


When should I call my healthcare provider?

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Chest pain

  • Fainting

  • Severe trouble breathing

  • Fast weight gain

  • Swelling in your body

  • Symptoms that are getting worse