Skip to main content


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.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)