Preparing for your appointment

You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions (cardiologist). Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Find out if you need to follow any pre-appointment restrictions, such as changing your activity level or your diet.
  • Write down your symptoms and how long you've had them.
  • Take a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.
  • Write down your key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • What treatments can help?
  • What risks does my heart condition create?
  • How often will I need follow-up appointments?
  • Do I need to restrict my activities?
  • Should my children or other close relatives be screened for this condition, and should I meet with a genetic counselor?
  • How will other conditions that I have or medications I take affect my heart problem?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?
  • Have your symptoms changed over time? If so, how?
  • Does exercise or physical exertion make your symptoms worse?
  • Have you ever fainted?
  • Do you have a family history of heart disease?

What you can do in the meantime

Before your appointment, ask your family members if any relatives have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or have experienced unexplained, sudden death. It will help your doctor to know as many details as possible about your family medical history.

If exercise makes your symptoms worse, avoid strenuous exercise until you have seen your doctor and received specific exercise recommendations.

Feb. 18, 2015
  1. Maron MS, et al. Overview of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy management including treatment of special problems Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  2. 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; 2014.
  3. Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  4. Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  5. Jacoby DL, et al. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Diagnosis, risk stratification and treatment. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2013;185:127.
  6. 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.
  7. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. American Heart Association. Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  8. Maron MS, et al. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and evaluation of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  9. Maron MS. Atrial fibrillation in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
  10. Maron MS. Genetics of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  11. Elliott PM, et al. Ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
  12. Maron MS. Medical therapy in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.
  13. Maron MS. Nonpharmacologic therapy of outflow obstruction in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
  14. Maron BJ, et al. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Present and future, with translation into contemporary cardiovascular medicine. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2014;64:83.
  15. Said SM, et al. Surgical treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy. 2013;11:617.
  16. Prevention and treatment of cardiomyopathy. American Heart Association. Accessed Dec. 12, 2014.
  17. Living with cardiomyopathy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed Dec. 12, 2014.
  18. Pelliccia A, et al. Risk of sudden cardiac death in athletes. Accessed Dec. 12, 2014.
  19. Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 13, 2014.
  20. Dearani JA, et al. Surgery insight: Septal myectomy for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — The Mayo Clinic experience. Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine. 2007;4:503.
  21. Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 1, 2014.
  22. U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014-15. U.S. News & World Report. Accessed Dec. 29, 2014.
  23. Ommen SR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 13, 2015.
  24. Constans DM. Echo Report Yearly Volumes. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Accessed Jan. 12, 2015.
  25. Kirklin JW, et al. Surgical relief of diffuse subvalvular aortic stenosis. Circulation. 1961;24:739.