Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is very common and can affect people of any age. About one out of every 500 people has HCM. It affects men and women equally.
Other Names for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Asymmetric Septal Hypertrophy
- Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic Non-obstructive Cardiomyopathy
- Idiopathic Hypertrophic Sub-aortic Stenosis (IHSS)
Causes of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy:
HCM is a genetic condition caused by a change or mutation in one or more genes and is passed on through families. Each child of someone with HCM has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the condition. HCM is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in young people, including young athletes.
HCM also can affect the heart’s mitral valve, causing blood to leak backward through the valve. Sometimes, the thickened heart muscle doesn’t block blood flow out of the left ventricle. This is called non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The entire ventricle may thicken, or the thickening may happen only at the bottom of the heart. The right ventricle also may be affected.
Symptoms of HCM:
Many people with HCM don’t experience any symptoms. However, the following symptoms may occur during physical activity:
You may find that you never have any serious problems related to your condition, and with treatment, your symptoms should be controlled. However some people may find that their symptoms worsen or become harder to control in later life.
The area of heart muscle that is affected by HCM and the amount of stiffening that occurs will determine how the symptoms affect you.
For some people, a number of other conditions can develop as a result of having HCM. These may include abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, including heart block and endocarditis.
Other symptoms that might occur, at any time, include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Light headedness and fainting
Diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy:
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Signs may include abnormal heart sounds or a heart murmur. These sounds may change with different body positions, High blood pressure, the pulse in your arms and neck will also be checked. The doctor may feel an abnormal heartbeat in the chest.
Close family members of people who have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may be screened for the condition. Tests used to diagnose heart muscle thickness, problems with blood flow, or leaky heart valves (mitral valve regurgitation) may include:
- Echocardiography, ECG
- Cardiac catheterization
- MRI of the heart, Chest X-ray
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
- 24-hour Holter monitor (heart rhythm monitor)
Risk Factors include:
Any strenuous exercise that increases after load (i.e., heavy weight lifting/training) can theoretically increase the magnitude of LV hypertrophy over time and thus worsen obstruction in subjects with pre-existing HCM. Risk factors for the development of end-stage HCM (manifesting as LV systolic dysfunction and LV dilation) include younger age of onset/presentation of HCM, a family history of HCM, increased ventricular wall thickness, along with the presence of certain genetic mutations in certain individuals.
Treatment of HCM:
At present there is no cure for HCM, but treatments are available to help control your symptoms and prevent complications. Your treatment will depend on how your heart is affected and what symptoms you have. You may need:
- A Pacemaker – to control your heart rate
- Medicines – to help control your blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms
- An ICD – if you are at risk of having a life threatening abnormal heart rhythm
Seek counsel from our Houston Cardiologist if you suspect you are suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) for the best treatment options for you.
Visit us at: www.advancedcardiodr.com|Call: +1 281-866-7701.