Our Services

We develop and implement innovative, highly effective approaches to recognizing and treating cardiomyopathy at all stages of the disease through outstanding clinical care, research, and education to minimize complications from the disease and enhance the quality of life for cardiomyopathy patients in the Northern Virginia community and beyond. You can learn more about our work below.

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Our Team

Our team uses a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to ensure the highest quality care, with medical and surgical specialists who diagnose individual patients, determine and implement the appropriate treatment, and evaluate outcomes. The core team includes cardiologists, nurse practitioners, patient care coordinators, imaging experts, research coordinators, registry experts, and data analysts. Each team member brings a unique perspective critical to the program's success. We also partner with other specialists such as electrophysiologists, cardiac surgeons, and advanced lung disease specialists, based on the individual patient’s needs.


Mitchell Psotka, MD, MS, PhD

Section Chief, Inova Heart Failure and Transplant Program

Palak Shah, MD, MS

Director, Inova Cardiovascular Genomics Center
Medical Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support for Inova Fairfax Medical Campus

We manage patients’ clinical needs through a multidisciplinary team-based approach, including expertise in:

  • Amyloidosis
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)
  • Cardiac Sarcoidosis
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis
  • Genetic (Inherited or Familial) Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart Failure medications and devices, including pacemakers
  • Heart Surgery
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Infiltrative Cardiomyopathy
  • Left Ventricular Noncompaction
  • Myocarditis
  • Peripartum Cardiomyopathy
  • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
  • Right Ventricular Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Toxic and Chemotherapeutic Cardiomyopathy

Inova produces and follows the latest scientific findings to develop and implement innovative approaches and care pathways to best help patients.

We review and adapt risk stratification, prevention, detection, monitoring, and treatment protocols based on risk assessment algorithms, imaging and treatment guidance documents, and scientific statements from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Heart Rhythm Society, and the American Society for Echocardiography.

We establish and track measures of success, including the need for hospitalization, reduction in length of hospital stay, reduction in mortality, improved quality of life, and other relevant metrics, and document their outcomes.

Research is critical to guide future treatment decisions and policies. We focus on clinical research aimed at developing strategies to personalize and individualize therapies and treatments based on the unique characteristics and biology of the individual patient that will best improve their longevity and quality of life.

We provide funding for Investigator Initiated Studies to encourage innovative research and invite funding proposals from Inova Schar Heart and Vascular faculty for proof-of-concept studies which may go on for full funding by industry or government.

We are creating the Inova Reinsch Pierce Cardiomyopathy Program Registry, which is a state-of-the-art, highly functional clinical research database that will capture patient data on clinical demographics, including electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, results of the 6-Minute Walk Test, Chest X-Rays, cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and, importantly, DNA and biomarkers. We will also integrate the information into national and international collaborative cardiomyopathy registries so providers can follow patients throughout their lives.

We support research efforts to allow the testing of the potential efficacy of treatment options across the full spectrum of cardiovascular conditions in a broad range of patients through visionary genomic and biomarker studies.

Cardiomyopathies are progressive heart muscle conditions that make it harder for the heart to pump, caused by viral infections in the heart, genetic defects, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and chemotherapy. They can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, and backup of blood into the lungs or other parts of the body.

Though the exact prevalence of cardiomyopathies is unknown because they frequently go undiagnosed, as many as one in 500 adults may suffer from some form of cardiomyopathy, with rising numbers as the population ages. Types of cardiomyopathies include:

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

ARVC, also known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), is an inherited or genetic disorder of the bottom right chamber of the heart (called the right ventricle) that causes the heart’s muscular wall, or myocardium, to become enlarged and develop problems contracting. ARVC can increase a patient’s risk for arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), subsequently increasing the risk of sudden cardiac arrest or death.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

The most frequent form of cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, occurs when the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, is enlarged (dilated). As the chamber gets bigger, its thick muscular wall stretches, becoming thinner and weaker, affecting the heart's ability to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common inherited or genetic heart disease, characterized by a thickening of the left ventricle muscle that blocks blood flow to the rest of the body and can sometimes affect the mitral valve, causing blood to leak backward through the valve. It can occur at many ages but often presents in childhood or early adulthood and can cause sudden death in adolescents and young adult athletes. Because there are frequently no symptoms, we screen patients with a family history to help with early diagnosis and prevent advanced disease or sudden death.

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy (RCM)

Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) is a rare condition in which the heart's chambers stiffen, making it difficult for the heart to fill with blood properly. Though the heart has normal pumping function, it has difficulty relaxing between beats causing the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to enlarge while the lower chambers (ventricles) maintain their normal size. Eventually, the heart chambers can't properly fill with blood, which, in turn, backs up in the circulatory system. Other health conditions commonly cause RCM, but the cause can also be unknown (idiopathic).

RCMs are classified as primary (e.g., endomyocardial fibrosis, Löffler's endocarditis, idiopathic restrictive cardiomyopathy) or secondary, caused by infiltrative diseases such as amyloidosis (most common), sarcoidosis, radiation carditis, and storage diseases, such as hemochromatosis, glycogen storage disorders, and Fabry's disease.