Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is a heart muscle disease. It happens when the walls of your heart become thicker than normal. HCM most often affects your left ventricle, your heart’s main pumping chamber. As the walls get wider and more rigid, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body.

HCM is usually inherited. It can develop at any age and can sometimes lead to sudden cardiac arrest, especially in young athletes.


Symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may include: 

  • Chest pain (often after physical activity or big meals)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting 
  • Heart palpitations and fluttering in your chest, especially when you exercise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tachycardia, a dangerously fast heartbeat


To diagnose hypertropic cardiomyopathy, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. He or she may also order cardiac tests including: 

Services & Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your doctor will work with you on a treatment plan tailored to your needs. It may include lifestyle changes to improve your health such as quitting smoking, avoiding high-intensity sports and limiting salt, alcohol and caffeine. 

Your doctor may also prescribe medications, such as beta blockers, antibiotics, and diuretics. 

Surgical treatment options include:

  • Alcohol septal ablation – a minimally invasive procedure that thins the muscle tissue in part of your heart.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Septal myectomy – a surgery where doctors remove part of your heart muscle wall.

At Aurora, you can count on personalized, compassionate care from leading experts in heart health at our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center. For more information, call 414-385-2400.

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