Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit, the AAFP patient education website.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia: What You Should Know


Am Fam Physician. 2006 Apr 15;73(8):1401.

  See related article on arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia.

What is arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia?

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (say: uh-RITH-mo-jen-ic right ven-TRICK-yoo-lar dis-PLAY-shuh), also called ARVD, is a rare heart problem. The heart has four sections called chambers. The right ventricle (say: VEN-trick-uhl) is one of these chambers. If you have ARVD, the normal heart muscle in your right ventricle is replaced with fat and scar tissue. This can make your heart beat too fast.

Who gets ARVD?

ARVD runs in families. It is most common in people younger than 35 years, but it can happen at any age. If you have a close relative, such as a brother, sister, or parent, who died before the age of 40 from heart-related problems, you may be at risk for ARVD.

How do I know if I have ARVD?

If you have ARVD, you may have a fast heart rate sometimes. You may feel like your heart is “skipping a beat” or that you can’t catch your breath. ARVD sometimes causes chest pain that may seem like a heart attack. Other symptoms of ARVD include passing out, not being able to catch your breath, dizziness, and anxiety or panic.

You should see your doctor right away if you have any of these feelings. Your doctor can test you for ARVD and other heart problems.

How is ARVD treated?

Your doctor may give you medicine to keep your heart beating at a normal rate. Some people may need a device called a pacemaker put near their heart to control their heart beat. Some people need surgery to keep their heart from beating too fast.

Where can I learn more about ARVD?

Your doctor.

American Academy of Family Physicians

Johns Hopkins Hospital

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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