Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart)


Chest | Cardiology | Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart) (Disease)


Description

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is associated with thickening of the heart muscle, most commonly at the septum between the ventricles, below the aortic valve. This leads to stiffening of the walls of the heart and abnormal aortic and mitral heart valve function, both of which may impede normal blood flow out of the heart

Many people with HCM have no symptoms or only minor symptoms, and live a normal life. Other people develop symptoms, which progress and worsen as heart function worsens.

Symptoms of HCM can occur at any age and may include: chest pain or pressure (occurs usually with exercise or physical activity, but can also occur with rest or after meals), shortness of breath (dyspnea), especially with exertion, fatigue (feeling overly tired), fainting (caused by irregular heart rhythms, abnormal responses of the blood vessels during exercise, or no cause may be found), palpitations (fluttering in the chest) due to abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), such as atrial fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia.

Causes and Risk factors

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually caused by gene mutations. Its thought these mutations cause the heart muscle to grow abnormally thick. People with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy also have an abnormal arrangement of heart muscle fibers. The heart muscle cells become jumbled, known as myofiber disarray. This disarray can contribute to an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) in some people.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy do not need treatment. But in some cases, having a thickened heart muscle can cause problems. If symptoms develop, treatment is usually recommended. Medicines cannot cure hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but they may be used to treat complications, including atrial fibrillation and heart failure. ...