Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia
- Decreased exercise tolerance.
- Dyspnea (especially with exertion).
- Mental confusion.
- Syncope or fainting.
- Peripheral edema.
- Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce a moving picture of the heart. It is a noninvasive test that can be used to look at the chambers of the heart to see if there are any structural abnormalities (such as a thinning of the muscle or an enlargement of the ventricle) and to see if the heart is pumping normally.
- Cardiac MRI: A cardiac MRI is a noninvasive imaging procedure that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce a detailed image of the heart. This test can be used to assess the structure of the heart in detail and check for any structural abnormalities in the ventricle.
- Holter monitor: A Holter monitor is a device that has small electrodes attached to a recording monitor. The electrodes are kept attached to a patient's chest for a 24-hour period to record the electrical heart activity, and the recording monitor can be kept in the patient's pocket for ease. This can be used to detect any abnormalities in a patient's heart rhythm over a longer period of time. Patients wearing a Holter monitor usually keep a log of their activities, so that comparisons can be made between the level of physical activity and heart activity.
- Exercise stress test: This is a test in which a patient walks on a treadmill. It can be used to determine what effect exercise has on a patient's heart and what level of exercise is appropriate for a patient. Because a patient's need for oxygen increases as more time is spent on the treadmill, the test can measure the reaction of the heart to this increased need. During the test, ECG is used to measure the electrical activity of the heart and blood pressure is also monitored. Abnormal results during the test may indicate that a patient is experiencing arrhythmias or increased stress on the heart.
- Biopsy: If arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia is suspected, a biopsy may be performed. In a biopsy, a small amount of the heart tissue is surgically removed and checked for physical signs of deterioration. Because heart deterioration can be patchy in ARVD, a biopsy may not always be able to detect the disease.
- Genetic testing: Genetic testing exists to check for defects in some genes that have been linked to ARVD, such as plakophilin-2. Genetic testing is usually recommended for patients who have a family history of ARVD.
- Epsilon waves in leads V1-V3.
- Abnormal electrical potentials in high-resolution (signal-averaged) ECG.
- Ventricular premature beats with left bundle branch configuration.
- Heart transplant: In very severe cases, a heart transplant may be used to treat ARVD. A heart transplant is often only performed after other treatments have been tried and found to be ineffective.
- It is often recommended that patients with ARVD do not overexert themselves when exercising. Too much exercise can increase the strain on the heart and may lead to sudden cardiac death. Patients should engage only in mild forms of exercise, all of which should be discussed with a doctor.
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