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What is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a complex condition affecting the heart causing the muscle to stiffen. It is a primary heart disease, meaning that HCM is not the result of other cardiac or systemic conditions such as high blood pressure or viral infections. 
HCM is characterized by abnormal thickening in the heart, usually involving the left posterior free wall and the intraventricular septum, but can be seen in the right ventricle as well. The mitral valve and papillary muscle can also be abnormal in an HCM heart.
Thickening can make it difficult for the heart to work and pump blood out to the body causing heart failure symptoms of fatigue or shortness of breath.  The thickened muscle can also interfere with the electrical activity and predispose a patient to arrhythmias. While some hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients can be severely symptomatic, many others have few to little symptoms.
HCM poses a challenge to the medical community due to the diversity of gene expression, symptoms and prognosis of the disease, even within the same family. Given the wide range of presentations, the choice of treatment must be unique to each patient. 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue
Treatment Options
  • Medication-based therapy
  • Pacemaker
  • Defibrillator
  • Myectomy
  • Heart transplant
Complications of HCM
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Endocarditis
  • Stroke
  • Sudden cardiac arrest
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) Facts:
  • HCM is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in children and young adults including trained athletes
  • Prevalence of HCM is 1 in 500 in the general population
  • Manifestation of HCM is frequently seen during puberty, but can present at any age
  • Symptoms of HCM may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or blackouts.
  • HCM is autosomal dominant meaning that each offspring has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene.
  •  HCM has been called by many names over the past 50 years such as Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis (IHSS). 
Call             201-487-7617
Fax              201-342-5341
Location       155 Polifly Road  - Suite 106
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Office Hours:     Monday and Friday 9 am – 5 pm
                         Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9 am -8 pm
                         Closed Saturdays and Sundays       
We ask that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your visit as we need to verify your insurance.  Please allow up to an hour and a half for your appointment.
What to bring with you for your evaluation:
  • Additional records pertinent to evaluation (blood work results, echo reports or autopsy records on family members)
  • Family history information is useful in the diagnosis of HCM. If you are unaware of your family’s medical past (name of disease or disorder, age of diagnosis or death, etc), please ask a family member for more details.  Family members could include parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents from both sides of the family.
  • Insurance card and referral if needed
What to expect for your initial visit:
  • Review of family history
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Evaluation by a cardiologist
  • Additional testing that may be ordered:  stress echocardiogram, holter monitor, event recorder, cardiac MRI, or genetic testing

Click here for Resources to find aditional information on Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.


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