The American Heart Association claims that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is relatively common occurring in 1 out of every 500 people, and is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young people (less than 30 years of age), including young athletes, in the United States (US). This has stimulated calls for the routine HCM screening of athletes.

While the adverse consequences of HCM (i.e.the risk of sudden death) have been emphasised in the literature, more balanced perspectives on HCM are emerging. The overall mortality rates for HCM in the US (around 1% per year) are, in fact, not dissimilar to the general US adult population. Many people with HCM go undiagnosed because they never have signs or symptoms and they can actually lead normal lives without significant problems. Others may experience classic signs and symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, fainting, irregular heart rhythms) leading to diagnosis and appropriate management.

The condition is characterised by a thickening of the heart muscle in the ventricular wall (usually the left ventricle). The overall ventricle size often remains normal but the inside of the ventricle is generally smaller and holds less blood than a normal ventricle.

The image on this post is a simple illustration of the heart and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), from Meddy Bear.

See more infomation at the American Heart Association, here: http://ow.ly/W1c1X

Author: Kara Gilbert @ KMG Communications


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