Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

AN INHERITED CARDIAC CONDITION


HCM is a thickening of the heart muscle wall (myocardium), making it harder to pump blood throughout your body

About HCM

HCM is a relatively common genetic condition passed on from your parents. Many people with HCM don't have any serious symptoms. However, for some people, the thickening of the muscle can cause your heart to become bulky, making it harder to pump blood through your body effectively. Occasionally the condition can lead to fast and, at times, dangerous heart rhythm problems.

Need to know

If you have HCM, you may not experience any serious problems or symptoms. The disease develops over time, so you may find that symptoms become more noticeable later in life. Symptoms can sometimes include:

  • chest pain
  • palpitations or an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness or fainting (syncope)

The symptoms you have will depend on how thick your heart muscle becomes, whether there is obstruction to the blood leaving the heart (left ventricular outflow tract obstruction) and whether there are heart rhythm abnormalities.

If your consultant thinks you may have HCM, the most common way to confirm a diagnosis is through a cardiac MRI or echocardiogram. Your consultant will also speak to you about any family history of heart disease. They'll discuss your symptoms with you and determine the best approach with the help of our experienced cardiologists and electrophysiologists.

If you're diagnosed with HCM, your consultant will let you know whether you may need treatment. Potential options may include medication, or having an implantable cardiac device fitted to help control your heart beat. You may need to avoid intense physical activity.

They will also talk to you about screening other family members through tests such as an ECG and echocardiogram or with genetic testing where you try and find the faulty gene causing the condition.

Our Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Cardiac Clinic

The Cardiac Clinic

London Bridge Hospital SE1 2PR London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.