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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

What is it?

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease where the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). This can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood. The heart muscle can become so thick that the blood flow is obstructed as it leaves the heart to circulate to the body (obstructive HCM). Patients with obstructive HCM have a difficult time with activity due to shortness of breath, chest pain or lightheadedness. In addition, these patients can have electrical problems of the heart that can cause irregular beats (arrhythmia) or even sudden death. HCM can be caused by high blood pressure, aging or inherited genetic traits. The disease is usually diagnosed with an echocardiogram. With proper treatment and medications patients can usually live a normal life.

What symptoms can it cause?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Palpitations


Percutaneous Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA) - A non-surgical procedure using a small catheter to inject alcohol into the thickened area of the heart that is causing the obstruction to permanently shrink it.

Surgical Myomectomy - A surgical procedure that removes the thickened area of the heart and relieves the obstruction.

Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (AICD) - Stops a potentially lethal arrhythmia.

Permanent Pacemakers - This is used in patients with a slow heart rate that can occur after ASA or Myomectomy.

Medical Therapy - Used to slow the heart rate and improve heart function.

URMC Approach

Our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center offers a comprehensive approach to help all patients with this disease. Our comprehensive approach includes evaluation by interventionalists, surgeons, electrophysiologists, imaging experts and genetic counselors. The patient will be evaluated by physicians who are specialized in this field and will choose the best treatment for each patient. We work with the patient to select the most advanced treatment options for HCM. Genetic counselors will discuss genetic tests and family screening to make sure all family members receive the best tests and treatment.

Team Members:

  • Christopher Cove, MD
  • Peter Knight, MD
  • Karl Schwarz, MD
  • David Huang, MD
  • Chinto Feng, MD

Who should I contact?

Do you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? Then call the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at (585) 341-7800 for an appointment.