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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Heart Muscle Becomes Thick

Cardiomyopathy is a serious illness in which your heart muscle becomes inflamed or weakened and has trouble pumping. There are several types of cardiomyopathy that run in families.

One inherited form is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a rare condition in which your heart muscle becomes thick. This thickening makes it harder for blood to leave the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. Most often, it is the septum, the muscular wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart, which becomes thickened. This causes a narrowing that can block or lessen blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. Other areas of the heart muscle may also become thickened.

Causes Stiffness and Prevents Filling of Ventricle With Blood

The condition may also cause stiffness in the left ventricle that can make it difficult for the ventricle to relax as it should, so that it cannot fill with blood. This results in less blood being pumped to the organs and muscles. This condition may also lead to leaking of the mitral valve or to problems with arrhythmias. Other conditions associated with HCM include sudden cardiac arrest and sudden death.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215