Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Adult



Causes of HCM include:

  • A gene that causes the abnormal structure of the heart muscle. It can be passed from a parent to a child or can happen on its own.
  • A problem with a gene that controls the growth of heart muscle
  • Infection

In people at least 60 years of age, HCM is likely to be caused by or related to high blood pressure.

Risk Factors

HCM is usually most severe when it occurs in younger people, but it can happen at any age.

Other things that may raise the risk of HCM include:

  • Having a family member with HCM
  • Being more than 60 years of age and having hypertension



A person with HCM may have:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting, mainly during exercise
  • Lightheadedness, mainly after exercise
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Tiring easily during exercise or activity
  • Shortness of breath when lying down

These symptoms can be caused by some of the side effects of HCM, such as heart arrhythmias. The blocked or reduced blood flow is often the cause of symptoms like lightheadedness, fainting, and difficulty breathing.


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

A blood test may be done to look for changes or possible causes. A different kind of cardiomyopathy can be caused by:

  • Amyloidosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Valvular heart disease

A stress test may also be done to see how the heart works under pressure. Images of the heart may be taken with:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • Angiogram

The heart's electrical activity may need to be tracked. This can be done with an ECG that can be worn all day.



The goals of treatment are to manage symptoms and prevent more problems. This may be done with:


Medicines may be used to help the heart work better by:

  • Helping the heart beat
  • Making the blood thinner and reducing the risk of clots


Surgery may be needed to remove a thickened part of the heart muscle. It may be done if the muscle is blocking too much blood flow from the heart.

Surgery may also be done to repair or replace the mitral valve if it is leaking.

Alcohol Septal Ablation

Alcohol is injected into the blood vessels that feed the enlarged heart. It will make part of the tissue shrink back. This should decrease the blockage in the heart and improve blood flow out of the heart.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD)

An ICD can help control abnormal heart rhythms. It sends an electrical impulse when the heart needs it. This may be implanted if there is a higher risk for sudden death.


Some chronic heart or medical issues raise the risk of HCM. Following the care plan for those health issues plan may help lower the risk of HCM.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.