Doctors sometimes can use a stethoscope to identify the characteristic sound of the heart that alerts them to the presence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Usually an echocardiogram is used to confirm a diagnosis. When studying the images from the echocardiogram, your doctor is looking for three things: excessive thickness in the heart muscle, any interference with normal blood flow, and any sign that the valves in the heart are not moving as they should. Electrocardiography (ECG), chest X-rays, cardiac MRI and cardiac catheterization may also be used to investigate the effects of HCM and to find the best treatment options.
A Answers (4)
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
UCLA Health answered
Some patients are diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after developing persistent symptoms, which include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and chest pain. Other patients may experience no symptoms and live a normal life with no heart-related problems, or they may unsuspectingly develop fibrosis (scar tissue) that eventually causes life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) or even sudden cardiac death. Experts recommend that anyone who has a direct relative -- parent, child or sibling -- with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy be evaluated by a heart specialist.
The first symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may be a heart murmur, but the condition is usually diagnosed with an echocardiogram. Watch this video with thoracic surgeon Dr. Hiroo Takayama to learn why a family history of the disease suggests early screening.
To diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an abnormal increased thickness of the heart muscle), your health care provider will take a thorough medical history, asking you questions about your symptoms, past medical problems and family history of heart problems. A thorough physical examination will also be completed. Patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may have a heart murmur. The murmur can occur because blood is leaking backward from a heart valve or must flow past an obstruction.
Additional testing will be ordered by your health care provider to assist in the diagnosis or determine the best treatment plan. The following tests are commonly ordered:
• Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)
• Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
• Chest X-ray
• Electrocardiogram (ECG)
• Holter monitor
• Exercise test
• Cardiac magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI)
• Heart catheterization
• Electrophysiology (EP) study
• Genetic testing
• Genetic consultation