Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy (AC and ARVC)

What are AC and ARVC?

Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (AC) is a rare inherited heart muscle condition that causes irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) at a higher rate than other heart muscle conditions. AC can affect primarily either the left ventricle (Left Dominant Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy) or the right ventricle (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, or ARVC). Individuals with AC or ARVC may have symptoms of palpitations or fainting due to arrhythmias. Symptoms may also include shortness of breath due to reduced pumping function of the heart.

Importance of Family Evaluation

Evaluation of the whole family is important since the condition is often passed on to the next generation of a family but may not cause symptoms initially. The diagnosis of AC or ARVC is often challenging and requires a thorough evaluation, including advanced imaging with cardiac MRI and genetic testing. Careful risk assessment for dangerous arrhythmias is also an important part of the evaluation, and sometimes implantable defibrillators (ICDs) are recommended in high risk individuals. High intensity exercise or sports may contribute to worsening in some patients, and thoughtful, personalized counseling to set exercise guidelines is often needed. While no medications are known to prevent worsening of AC, with correct identification of individuals at high-risk of arrhythmias, most people with AC lead full and normal lives.

Our AC/ARVC program offers expertise in the clinical evaluation of these conditions in children and adults, knowledgeable use of genetic testing, genetic counseling, advanced cardiac imaging, evaluation of arrhythmia risk, personalized advice on exercise, and defibrillator implantation when needed. 

Illustration of ARVC showing enlarged right ventricle of the heart 

Learn more about Inherited Cardiomyopathies and Arrhythmias and our Inherited Cardiomyopathies and Arrhythmias Team.

AC and ARVC Research

Michigan Medicine has a research program dedicated to learning more about AC and ARVC. Patient participation in research is a vital part of our mission to advancing our understanding and care for these conditions. If you are a patient interested in contributing to AC or ARVC research, visit our Research in Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy page to learn more.

Patient Resources

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment for expert consultation for a suspected or known inherited cardiomyopathy or arrhythmia condition, contact us toll-free at 888-287-1082 and ask to speak with our program nurse coordinator, Barb Steeves. Please visit our Make a Cardiovascular Appointment page for more information about what to expect when you call us.​