Because hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is inherited, it can't be prevented. But it's important to identify the condition as early as possible to guide treatment and prevent complications.
Preventing sudden death
Implantation of a cardioverter-defibrillator has been shown to help prevent sudden cardiac death, which occurs in only about 1 percent of people with HCM. Unfortunately, because many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy don't realize they have it, there are instances where the first sign of a problem is sudden cardiac death. These cases can happen in seemingly healthy young people, including high school athletes and other young, active adults. News of these types of deaths generates understandable attention because they're so unexpected, but parents should be aware these deaths are quite rare.
Still, experts in heart abnormalities generally recommend that people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy not participate in most competitive sports with the possible exception of some low-intensity sports. Discuss specific recommendations with your cardiologist. The use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator should not be viewed as a substitute for these recommendations.
Feb. 22, 2014
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