Is Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam the culprit which caused my cardiomyopathy?

I was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy in August of 1997. I asked the cardiologist to test to see what virus attacked my heart. None was found. Later the cardiologist changed the diagnosis to non ischemic cardiomyopathy. Again, no one has a clue what caused my heart condition. Isn’t it obvious that Agent Orange exposure in Viet Nam is the culprit?

Submitted by Hugh from Palm Bay, Florida on 07/07/2014

Dear Hugh,
Cardiomyopathies (CMP) can be divided into 2 types: Ischemic (due to coronary artery disease and hear attacks (myocardial infarctions which cause patches of scar tissue) and non-ischemic (heart muscle damage not due to heart attacks). We think that most non-ischemic cardiomyopathies are hereditary, frequently becoming apparent in late adulthood. Some may be viral or triggered by viral infection. This is almost impossible to accurately determine with our current tests. Some CMPs are secondary to other illnesses. Currently there is no genetic test that can diagnose or predict hereditary CMPs. In the case of Agent Orange, to my knowledge, its association with heart disease is unclear and may never be satisfactorily resolved. However, the VA has made an administrative decision to cover at least some of those exposed to it during their tours in Viet Nam and Korea. If you think that you fall into this category, you should contact them.

Thank you for your service.