Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Diagnosis & Treatment

Whether a patient has a family history of HCM or is experiencing symptoms, our physician experts can offer patients the full spectrum of tests at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. The goal is to develop a comprehensive snapshot of the patient’s condition, including risk of sudden death. 

Diagnosing and Accessing HCMTesting begins with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to assess the electrical activity of the heart. An echocardiogram will be used to confirm the diagnosis, using high frequency ultrasound waves to measure the thickness, motion, function and blood flow of the heart.

Based on the preliminary findings, other tests may also be required. Tests frequently used to diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include:

In addition, physicians assessing HCM patients may also request sleep apnea screenings and genetic testing. Due to the hereditary nature of HCM, an evaluation of first degree relatives (siblings, children and parents) of HCM patients may be recommend.

A Full Menu of HCM Treatment Options

There is no cure for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Instead, treatment concentrates on minimizing symptoms and reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death. Treatments may include:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as activity restrictions, healthy nutrition and proper hydration
  • Medications
  • Surgery, including mitral valve repair and septal myectomy. Septal myectomy is a procedure to remove excess muscle from the wall between the left and right ventricles. This is a very intricate open heart surgery which is not offered everywhere and requires experienced surgeons such as those at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Arrhythmia management, including implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs)
  • Genetic screening and counseling for family members