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

  • What are the symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? icon plus

    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.

  • Screening and diagnosis icon plus

    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.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    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 cardiologists

HCA UK is home to some of the most advanced cardiac care facilities and a dedicated group of consultant cardiologists, cardiac physiologists, and clinical nurse specialists who are experienced in helping to manage inherited cardiac conditions, including HCM. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have.

Where hereditary conditions require diagnosis, genetic tests with be conducted at the HCA UK Laboratories by a consultant geneticist.

Our locations

From complex cardiothoracic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional cardiac care across our network of hospitals and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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