How thickened heart muscle can slow you down.
About 1 in 500 people are affected by Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), in which the walls of a heart chamber are too thick.
HCM increases the risk of sudden cardiac death, especially in people under 30.
HCM reduces the heart's ability to do its job.
- Obstructs the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
- Thickened heart muscle is too stiff to pump effectively.
Symptoms are common and diagnosis can be challenging.
The most common symptoms occur during exertion.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure
- Fainting or fatigue
- Heart palpitations
HCM is often caused by a complex genetic mutation that can be inherited. Diagnosed individuals may consider genetic testing to assess risk to family members.
Most people find relief with conservative treatment.
2/3 of patients find symptoms are relieved with medication. The remaining 1/3 need additional treatment and lifestyle changes.
Special cases may require a defibrillator implant.
HCM may result in severe arrhythmia (a heartbeat that's out of rhythm), increasing the risk of sudden death. A defibrillator may be implanted to regulate the heartbeat using electrical impulses.
Surgical options offer symptom relief for the most persistent cases.
The preferred option of most patients who have not improved with medication, septal myectomy delivers significant and long-lasting relief for 90-95% of patients.
In this open-heart procedure, a portion of the thickened heart wall is surgically removed to improve blood flow.
A minimally invasive alternative, septal ablation may be better suited for patients who can't undergo open-heart surgery due to age or other risk factor.
In this transcather procedure, a small portion of the thickened heart wall is intentionally scarred using a long thin tube.