Woman holding her chest

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart muscle becomes abnormally thickened (hypertrophied). This usually affects the left ventricle, which is the main pumping chamber of the heart.

Anatomical illustration comparing normal heart to a heart with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited condition that is estimated to affect between one in 200 and one in 500 people.

What are the symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may include:

Some people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may experience only minor symptoms, or no symptoms at all.

What causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited condition, meaning it is usually passed down through families.

A parent with the gene mutation has a 50 percent chance of passing it on to their child. However, not everyone with the gene mutation will go on to develop an enlarged heart muscle, and those who do may have varying degrees of disease severity.

What is the difference between hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

There are two types of HCM:

How is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely discuss any family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They may also perform some of the following tests:

How is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy treated?

Treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy aims to manage symptoms. This may include:

How can hypertrophic cardiomyopathy be prevented?

As hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic condition, there is currently no way to prevent it. For those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in their family, genetic testing may be appropriate. Regular screening via echocardiogram may also be recommended for those with first degree relatives with the condition.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patient stories

Read the stories of these amazing heart warriors who've experienced hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and complications in their heart disease battles.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years