Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A disease in which the heart muscle has thickened, making it harder to pump blood. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often asymmetrical, meaning one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts. It is usually inherited genetically.

It is believed to be caused by defects with the genes that control heart muscle growth.

Symptoms can include: chest pain, light-headedness, dizziness, sudden fainting, abnormal heart rhythms, and shortness of breath, especially following activity. In some cases, clients do not experience symptoms and may not even realize they have the condition. The first symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy among many young patients is sudden death, caused by arrhythmias.

Tests used to diagnose heart muscle thickness, problems with blood flow, or leaky heart valves may include: ECG, echocardiography with Doppler ultrasound, chest x-ray and cardiac catherization.

Treatment can include beta blockers, implanted pacemakers or surgery.

In people over age 60, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often associated with mild hypertension . TRUE

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a major cause of death in young athletes who seem completely healthy but die during heavy exercise.