Genetic causes of cardiomyopathy in children: First results from the pediatric cardiomyopathy genes study

for the Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Pediatric cardiomyopathy is a genetically heterogeneous disease with substantial morbidity and mortality. Current guidelines recommend genetic testing in children with hypertrophic, dilated, or restrictive cardiomyopathy, but practice variations exist. Robust data on clinical testing practices and diagnostic yield in children are lacking. This study aimed to identify the genetic causes of cardiomyopathy in children and to investigate clinical genetic testing practices. METHODS AND RESULTS: Children with familial or idiopathic cardiomyopathy were enrolled from 14 institutions in North America. Probands underwent exome sequencing. Rare sequence variants in 37 known cardiomyopathy genes were assessed for pathogenicity using consensus clinical interpretation guidelines. Of the 152 enrolled probands, 41% had a family history of cardiomyopathy. Of 81 (53%) who had undergone clinical genetic testing for cardiomyopathy before enrollment, 39 (48%) had a positive result. Genetic testing rates varied from 0% to 97% between sites. A positive family history and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy subtype were associated with increased likelihood of genetic testing (P=0.005 and P=0.03, respectively). A molecular cause was identified in an additional 21% of the 63 children who did not undergo clinical testing, with positive results identified in both familial and idiopathic cases and across all phenotypic subtypes. CONCLUSIONS: A definitive molecular genetic diagnosis can be made in a substantial proportion of children for whom the cause and heritable nature of their cardiomyopathy was previously unknown. Practice variations in genetic testing are great and should be reduced. Improvements can be made in comprehensive cardiac screening and predictive genetic testing in first-degree relatives. Overall, our results support use of routine genetic testing in cases of both familial and idiopathic cardiomyopathy. REGISTRATION: URL: https://www.clini​caltr​; Unique identifier: NCT01873963.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere017731
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 4 2021


  • Exome
  • Heart failure
  • Infant
  • Molecular
  • Mutation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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