Cardiomyopathy | Hypertrophic

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) describes a thickening of heart muscle, commonly resulting in obstruction to the emptying of blood from the heart. This in turn leads to dizziness, breathlessness, chest pain and on occasions fainting, particularly during or just after exercise. Some patients will also be aware of palpitations due to an accessory pathway (see Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome) or ventricular tachycardia, a fast rhythm arising from either of the two main pumping chambers of the heart (ventricles). Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic condition, and therefore commonly found in other family members.

Cardiac investigations such as an ECG and echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) are usually diagnostic, but coronary angiography may be required to exclude the presence of coronary disease. Some patients may also require a biopsy of heart muscle to establish the diagnosis. An electrophysiological study (electrical study of the heart) may be required to assess the cause of palpitations and establish the location of an accessory pathway in those with Wolff Parkinson White syndrome to facilitate catheter ablation. Treatment options include drug treatment to reduce the obstruction to heart emptying, antiarrhythmic drug treatment, catheter ablation of an accessory pathway, and an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) for those at risk of sudden cardiac death.




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