There are different types of inherited heart diseases. Identifying these conditions early can lead to better care and improved health over time.

Inherited Cardiomyopathies

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively. Many forms of cardiomyopathy are genetic. Family members of someone with cardiomyopathy are often at risk to develop the disease.

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common inherited heart disorder, affecting approximately 1 in every 500 people. It occurs when the left ventricle of the heart is thicker than normal. This reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood. Hyertrophic cardiomyopathy can be caused by an abnormality in a gene that codes the characteristics for the heart muscle.
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) – Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy is estimated to affect 1 in 5,000 people. In this condition, the heart muscle is gradually replaced by fat tissue. This may lead to episodes of rapid heartbeats (arrhythmia), which can cause cardiac arrest and sudden death. Approximately half of the cases of this condition are caused by inherited genetic mutations.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy – Dilated cardiomyopathy is seen in approximately 1 in 2,500 people. Signs of dilated cardiomyopathy include an enlarged or dilated left ventricle and reduced pumping function.The enlargement is a result of a weakened heart muscle. Studies have shown that 20 to 35 percent of primary dilated cardiomyopathy is linked to genetics.
  • Lamin Cardiomyopathy
  • Titin Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiomyopathies associated with neuromuscular disorders

Inherited Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are diseases that affect the heart’s electrical system and the heart’s ability to properly squeeze and relax. Hereditary arrhythmias can result in a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow or irregular. They can lead to rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting and sometimes sudden death.

  • Atrial fibrillation – Familial atrial fibrillation is an inherited condition that disrupts the heart’s normal rhythm. This condition is characterized by uncoordinated electrical activity in the heart’s upper chambers, which causes the heartbeat to become fast and irregular. If untreated, this abnormal heart rhythm can lead to dizziness, chest pain, a sensation of fluttering or pounding in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath, or fainting (syncope). Atrial fibrillation also increases the risk of stroke and sudden death. Complications of familial atrial fibrillation can occur at any age, although some people with this heart condition never experience any health problems associated with the disorder.
  • Long QT Syndrome – Long QT syndrome is a rare disorder in which the lower chambers of the heart beat so fast that the heart cannot pump the blood it needs for the brain to work normally. This is called ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Periods of arrhythmia can occur suddenly, leading to fainting or sometimes cardiac arrest and sudden death.
  • Brugada Syndrome – Brugada syndrome is an inherited condition with a specific abnormal heartbeat, called a Brugada sign, which causes the lower ventricles of the heart to beat so fast that the blood cannot circulate well in the body. This irregular heart rhythm can cause fainting or sudden cardiac arrest. Brugada syndrome is most common in people of Asian ancestry, and it is more likely found in males. It most commonly affects otherwise healthy people 30–50 years old, but cases have been reported in people as young as infants and as old as 84. Most cases are inherited from a parent who has Brugada syndrome.
  • Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia – Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is a condition characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm. As the heart rate increases in response to physical activity or emotional stress, it can trigger an abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat called ventricular tachycardia. Episodes of ventricular tachycardia can cause light- headedness, dizziness, and fainting (syncope).
  • Ventricular Tachycardia – Ventricular tachycardia is a type of heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia) in which the lower chambers of your heart (ventricles) beat very quickly because of a problem in your heart’s electrical system. In ventricular tachycardia, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your body and lungs because the chambers are beating so fast that they don’t have time to properly fill.
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome – In Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, an extra electrical pathway between the heart’s upper chambers and lower chambers causes a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia). This is a fairly rare condition (4 in 100,000) and the extra electrical pathway is present at birth.
  • Supraventricular Tachycardias – Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) means that from time to time your heart beats very fast for a reason other than exercise, high fever, or stress. For most people who have SVT, the heart still works normally to pump blood through the body. Some types of SVT may run in families, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Other types of SVT may be caused by certain health problems, medicines, or surgery.

Premature Coronary Artery Disease

Coronoary artery disease is the most common cause of heart disease and a leading cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque buildup, plaque rupture or a clot that blocks the coronary arteries, causing a lack of oxygen to the heart, preventing it from functioning effectively.

Inherited Lipid Disorders

Atheriosclerosis is the narrowing of the arteries due to cholesterol buildup and plaque formation. In addition to family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, obesity adn physical inactivity are risk factors for coronary artery disease.


About 90 percent to 95 percent of people with high blood pressure have essential hypertension or primary hypertension. This means the condition has no identifiable medical cause as its source. Essential hypertension is often inherited. Elevated blood pressure usually begins to appear between age 30 and 50, but can begin at older ages.

We encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary until you are confident that you understand your heart condition, medications or procedures you may be considering.

In her practice as a top heart doctor in Albuquerque, Dr. Michelle Khoo wants you to be informed, comfortable and confident about your treatment plan.

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Khoo & Associates Cardiology and Wellness is a boutique Cardiovascular Health & Wellness practice that is focused on delivering outstanding, comprehensive and ethical cardiovascular care to patients in Albuquerque and the surrounding counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia in New Mexico.

Our experienced and dedicated team offers our patients the combined collective experience and knowledge necessary to ensure the highest level of patient care in two convenient office locations – Downtown Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.