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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic cardiac disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thickened (hypertrophied) most commonly as a result of a genetic mutation. The thickened heart can make it harder for the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. The thickened muscle can also affect one of the leaflets of the mitral valve, which separates the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. The valve leaflet may become leaky, allowing blood to move backwards from the left ventricle into the left atrium, instead of forward to the body.

Most people with HCM have a form of the disease in which the wall (septum) between the two pumping chambers of the heart (ventricles) becomes thickened and restricts blood flow out of the heart creating an obstruction to flow of blood (obstructive HCM). Obstruction refers to impeded blood flow out of the left ventricle, which creates higher pressures in the heart. Obstruction is common in typical HCM and is present in more than two-thirds of patients at rest or with physical activity.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is hereditary. Since HCM is a genetic disease, it can be transmitted to consecutive generations of affected relatives in a family. Direct family members of patients with HCM should be screened for the disease.

At Piedmont Heart, we offer complete multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment options for patients and families with HCM.

Contact a specialist



Call 911 or your local emergency number if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than a few minutes:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Chest pain

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy information for physicians

For information on clinical identifiers, diagnostic testing, and management,  visit the Provider Resources page.

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