exterior of genetic counseling room

Heart Genetics

About 1.3 million Americans have some form of an inherited heart or vascular disease. Whatever your risk may be, genetic testing or cardiovascular screening is the first step to identify and address that risk or rule it out. 

All initial appointments and screenings should be scheduled through our Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic, located at the Heart & Vascular Center. After your first appointment, you may schedule appointments with our outreach clinics in Bristol, Lynchburg or Winchester. 

At UVA, we focus on three types of heart disease known to run in families:

Conditions We Treat

Aortic & Vascular Diseases

Cardiomyopathies

  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C)
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  • Familial dilated cardiomyopathy (familial DCM)
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC)
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)

Primary Arrhythmias

  • Brugada syndrome
  • Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Sudden cardiac arrest

Genetic Testing & Cardiovascular Screening

Genetic Counselor, Matt Thomas, discusses the cardiovascular genetic clinic and the importance of genetics testing. Inherited heart conditions can be treated. View genetics & heart conditions transcript.

A cardiologist can diagnose you with tests that include:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • MRI scan
  • Exercise testing 
  • Holter monitoring 

You may benefit from genetic testing if you have:

  • A family member with an inherited heart condition
  • A family member who died suddenly at a young age (under age 50)

Cardiovascular Screening

If we confirm that your relative's condition is not caused by a mutation or if we're unable to determine the cause, we'll schedule you for a cardiovascular screening. 

At that appointment, you'll better understand your risk and receive expert advice on how to manage that risk.