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.
Jul. 03, 2014
- Maron MS, et al. Overview of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy management including treatment of special problems http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 26, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and what is the role of genetic testing? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. Accessed Sept. 26, 2013.
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- Jacoby DL, et al. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Diagnosis, risk stratification and treatment. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2013;185:127.
- Gersh BJ, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Executive summary: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2011;124:2761.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_312225.pdf. Accessed Sept. 28, 2013.
- Ommen SR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 3, 2013.
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