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Pediatric Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease. A defect causes the heart muscle to become weakened, swollen, or lopsided, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy affects infants eight times more than any other demographic. Cardiomyopathy, like myocarditis, can lead to congestive heart failure, which is caused by fluid buildup in the heart, lungs, or other organs.

Pediatric cardiology is a special type of pediatric medicine. In general, pediatric care has very few medical errors; however, more complicated, life-threatening diseases have twice the number of medical errors as other medical complications. As children’s systems are still developing and they are generally small in size, it is difficult to predict how their systems will react to complex and invasive medical testing and treatments. Furthermore, children are frequently unable to articulate their symptoms in a detailed and understandable manner.  Pediatric cardiology is a very unique condition to treat, resulting in unusual conditions that can lead to errors. Because few children suffer from cardiac problems, the overall possibility of error is low, but it does occur. However, since there are fewer patients, errors are more common in this area. As a result of less experience in treating these diseases, fewer protocols, fewer established diagnostic methods, and a lack of equipment to treat these diseases, medical errors are on the rise.

Other factors that contribute to medical errors in pediatric cardiology patients include a general lack of awareness of these problems, which frequently results in physicians failing to diagnose or consider cardiac conditions, the frailty of critically ill patients, and the fact that symptoms of heart disease can also correlate with a wide range of other possible conditions. For these reasons, pediatricians frequently test other options before considering a cardiac condition. This significantly delays diagnosis and treatment, potentially causing the child to suffer greatly or even die. If your child was harmed as a result of medical malpractice involving heart failure, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Our highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.  We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

Cardiomyopathies are classified into three types:

  1. Dilated cardiomyopathy: This is the most common type of cardiomyopathy. As the heart enlarges and weakens, it is unable to adequately pump blood to other organs.
  2. Hypertrophic: The muscle wall is thicker than it should be in this form. Though the heart can pump, it cannot relax properly and thus cannot draw in enough blood.
  3. Restrictive: The muscle appears normal but is stiff and uncooperative. This causes the upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria, to enlarge. Pressure accumulates in the atria and eventually moves to the lungs.

Cardiomyopathy, unfortunately, carries the risk of sudden heart failure and death. The symptoms in children differ depending on their age. Symptoms in infants include:

  • Loss of appetite • Painful, labored breathing • Sneezing and coughing • General fatigue • Failure to thrive

In addition to these symptoms, older children frequently report abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. They may also lose interest in their usual activities and begin to avoid exercise. Pediatric cardiomyopathy is uncommon in the United States, with an estimated 1.1 cases per 100,000 children under the age of 18. Dilated cardiomyopathy accounts for roughly half of these cases. Meanwhile, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy accounts for 20-50% of cases in children, with restrictive cardiomyopathy accounting for only about 5% of cases.

Furthermore, male and African American children account for the majority of pediatric cardiomyopathy cases. It is most commonly diagnosed during the newborn period, early adolescence, and young adulthood. The reasons, however, are difficult to pinpoint. Because most forms of cardiomyopathy are caused by a genetic mutation, they can be passed down through families. However, more often than not, the patient is the first in their family to develop cardiomyopathy, implying that it occurred as a result of spontaneous mutation.

If your child or someone you love has suffered or even been killed due to medical malpractice or negligence, contact us today to learn more about your rights. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano has been handling birth injury malpractice and misdiagnosis cases for more than 40 years.  We represent injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.



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