Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy—Child

(Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic—Child; HCM—Child; Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis—Child; Asymmetric Septal Hypertrophy—Child; ASH—Child; HOCM—Child; Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy—Child)

Definition

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a form of cardiomyopathy . This is a condition in which the heart muscle thickens due to genetic problems with the muscle’s structure. As the muscle thickens, it must work harder to pump blood. This strains the heart muscle. Sometimes, the thickened muscle gets in the way of the blood leaving the heart and causes a blockage. This blockage can cause a nearby valve to become leaky. HCM can cause uneven muscle growth. This can cause the heart to pump in a disorganized way. Rarely, it can cause abnormal heart rhythms that can be fatal.
Normal Heart and Heart With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

HCM may be caused by a gene that causes an abnormality in the heart muscle. It can be inherited or it can happen from changes in the genes over time.

Risk Factors

Having a family member with HCM is a risk factor for your child.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting, particularly during exercise
  • Lightheadedness, particularly following exercise
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • General fatigue
  • Tiring easily during exercise or activity
These symptoms can be caused by some of the side effects of the condition, including abnormal heart beats . The blocked or reduced blood flow is usually the cause of symptoms like lightheadedness, fainting, and difficulty breathing. Babies with the condition may have the following symptoms:
  • Fast, heavy breathing when feeding
  • Sweating when feeding
  • Tiredness or inactivity
  • Poor weight gain
Some children may not have any symptoms. The condition may be suspected if there is a murmur , although not every person with HCM has a murmur and not all murmurs are due to HCM.

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