• Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Treatment

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    Treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) aims to:

    • improve symptoms and quality of life,
    • prevent sudden cardiac death, and
    • due to the genetic nature of the disease, inform all families members about HCM.

    Reducing the obstruction to blood flow from the heart’s left ventricle has emerged as an important way to improve overall heart function, which reduces the frequency and severity of symptoms. Importantly, while reducing the obstruction typically improves symptoms, it does not necessarily decrease the risks of a sudden cardiac event, although this is an area physician-scientists are actively researching.

    If you are diagnosed with HCM, it is always best to explore all possible treatment options. While medications are still the first and most common treatment option, and they can improve symptoms in up to half of HCM patients, other treatments might also be effective and recommended for your symptoms and condition. This is especially important if medications are not providing enough relief. Two additional treatment options that are currently recommended by soon-to-be-available national clinical guidelines are septal myectomy and alcohol septal ablation.

  • Additional Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Treatment Options

    Additional treatment options that your doctor may discuss with you may include these.

    Alcohol Septal Ablation for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Alcohol septal ablation is a minimally invasive procedure recommended for patients who are not ideal candidates for surgery, or for patients who -- after they understand the risks and benefits of both treatment options -- strongly prefer to avoid surgery if at all possible.

    Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the muscle of the lower left chamber of the heart (the left ventricle) becomes abnormally thick and enlarged. This thickening typically affects some parts of the ventricle walls more than others (doctors call this “asymmetric thickening”). The most commonly affected area is the wall between the two bottom chambers known as the “septum.” HCM is a significant cause of both heart failure and sudden death. It is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death among athletes that are believed to be healthy.

    Prevention of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Unfortunately, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is inherited and cannot be prevented, but early detection is key in avoiding further complications and facilitating treatment. Intense exercise and competitive sports should be avoided. Some patients can participate in low-intensity sports and exercise, but it is best to speak with your cardiologist beforehand for recommendations.

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Treatments for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

    Before undergoing septal myectomy, alcohol septal ablation, or any other procedure, it is important to speak with your doctor to ensure you fully understand the procedure and discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Here are some questions to have with you when you do.

    Septal Myectomy for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Septal myectomy is an open-heart procedure that removes part of the thickened septal wall that is blocking blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. This is one treatment option that is available for patients with progressive heart failure despite medical therapy and is usually the first consideration for the majority of eligible patients.