There are close to 100 known genetic causes for cardiomyopathies in children. The majority of cases develop from genetic causes, but cardiomyopathy can also be acquired during childhood. Children can be evaluated for a range of primary and secondary cardiomyopathies. Diagnosis is usually classified as familial/inherited, neuromuscular disorders, metabolic disorders or malformation syndromes. Descriptions are provided on the Genetic Classification of Cardiomyopathies page.
Currently, the cause of pediatric cardiomyopathy is poorly understood; up to two-thirds of diagnosed children do not have a known cause. When the cause of heart muscle damage is not clearly known, it is considered as idiopathic. In these cases, there is no known family history, the disease occurs sporadically or the cause cannot be determined with genetic testing. Researchers continue to identify new genes and to better understand the mechanisms that may lead to the various types and degrees of severity of cardiomyopathy in children.