Heart and Blood Conditions

Cardiomyopathy Symptoms and Diagnosis

  • Schedule an appointment +

    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

  • Find a doctor +

  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Babies with cardiomyopathy may have these symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulty (working hard to breathe)
  • Having poor appetite or trouble feeding
  • Failure to thrive  

In older children, the first symptoms are often shortness of breath when active and feeling more tired than normal. Some children develop arrhythmia or palpitations. Other possible symptoms include fainting and chest pain.

If your child has an infection that causes cardiomyopathy, you may first notice symptoms of the infection. These symptoms can include fever or chills or feeling weak or achy.

As the heart gets weaker, other symptoms of congestive heart failure may develop, such as difficulty breathing, poor appetite with nausea or vomiting, or edema.

Cardiomyopathy Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart.

The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

To get more information about how their heart looks and works, your child will need some tests. Your doctor may use echocardiography and an electrocardiogram to aid in the diagnosis. Sometimes the doctor needs more information and will order chest X-rays or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart.

Many times, lab tests (blood draws) are needed to help identify a cause for the cardiomyopathy and to assess how the body's other organ systems are handling the heart failure. In some cases, cardiac catheterization will be needed.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.