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Question
Posted by: Wondering | 2005/12/02

Cardiac Monopathy (however you spell it!)

My mother-in-law and her sister (and their mother) all suffered from cardiac monopathy. I have been told that it is set off by severe stress to the body. Mostly women suffer from it and pregnancy sets it off. Can my husband suffer from this disease and can he pass it down to our children one day?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Wondering,

I’m sure you are referring to cardiomyopathy. This is a little-understood condition, for which there is not much treatment. Yes, it can be triggered by pregnancy, in which case it is a specific form called post-partum cardiomyopathy, Men can also develop a form of cardiomyopathy, often occurring if they exercise whilst they have a viral myocarditis. This can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle, and they may end up needing a transplant.

The condition itself is not known to be hereditary, but with your strong family history, there may be an inherited abnormality of heart muscle which predisposes you and your children to developing the condition under certain circumstances.

I suggest that you consult a cardiologist for more information, or perhaps the genetics department of one of the major hospitals like Groote Schuur, Tygerberg, or the other big state hospitals in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

HeartDoc

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