Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a complex and common form of Heart disease that may be seen in 1 out of 500. It is a caused by the thickening of the Myocardium(Heart Muscle) which may have no obvious reasons. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is found to be the major cause of sudden death in people under the age of 30. Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy is an obstructive variant of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. It is also known as Idiopathic Hypertrophic Sub aortic Stenosis. Here, the outflow of blood from the left ventricle is obstructed and sometimes the right ventricle also. “Outflow Tract Obstruction” condition is encountered.
Causes can be either Inherent due the abnormality seen in the gene coding for the characteristics of the heart muscle or Acquired due to aging or High Blood Pressure. An abnormality in the gene producing the protein responsible for the contraction of heart is also a cause for this defect.
Symptoms seen are quite similar to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It can vary from person to person. Some may show no symptoms and can confront a sudden death. during or after an excessive work. Common Symptoms are:
- Palpitation (irregular Heart Beat)
- Shortness of breath
- Syncope (Fainting)
- Chest Pain
It is to be noted that, though these symptoms are been shown, it does not necessarily mean that the person has Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. Since it is seen that the symptoms shown are similar to that of other diseases, certain tests need to be carried out to diagnose the defect.
Electrocardiogram(ECG): Electric Signals of the heart are recorded by placing electrode on the chest, wrist and ankles.
Echocardiogram (Ultrasound): This is the standard test to diagnose the condition of the heart.Thinness of the heart is found by sending an Echo and retrieving its picture. This when combined with a Doppler, can retrieve colour image and hence the flow of blood within the heart can also be visualised.
Treatment is aimed at reducing the complications (sudden heart attack) and improving the symptoms. Treatment may include medication, change of lifestyle, use of a pacemaker to help proper functioning of the heart and in some cases, surgery.
If the tests prove positive, a change in lifestyle is advisable. Keep away from strenuous exercise. it is also noticed that in many, a change in life style is not a requisite. Healing in these cases can be obtained with proper medication. Annual check ups are necessary with those who have a family history. The severity varies from person to person.
Beta blockers also known as beta antagonist are prescribed to relive palpitation, chest pain and breathlessness. They reduce the effect of physical exertion on heart rate and force of contraction. Other drugs are use to reduce the thickness of the heart muscle. In severe cases, were the patient does not respond to these drugs, surgery is advised.
Surgical Myectomy is an open heart surgery, where some muscle, which widens the outflow tract in the left ventricle, is removed. It has been performed successfully in more than 25 years.