- Cite this article as:
- Behr, E.R. & McKenna, W.J. Curr Treat Options Cardio Med (2002) 4: 443. doi:10.1007/s11936-002-0039-8
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When an individual is diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), all relatives potentially affected by Mendelian autosomal-dominant inheritance should be evaluated with an electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram. Genetic testing should be considered in high-risk mutations where there are diagnostic uncertainties. Symptom relief depends on β-blockers as first-line therapy. If the disease is nonobstructive, then calcium channel blockers can be added or used alone. If there is a significant left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) gradient then disopyramide can be used, ideally in combination with a β-blocker. Verapamil should be used with care due to potential exacerbation of the LVOT gradient. Nonmedical therapy for obstructive disease consists of surgical myectomy, alcohol septal ablation, or dual-chamber pacing. Surgery is the gold standard, although in experienced hands and directed appropriately, septal ablation achieves good results. Pacing is generally less effective. The development of atrial fibrillation (AF) or left atrial enlargement carries a significant risk of thromboembolism. All patients should be closely observed for AF and thromboembolic risk, and the threshold for initiation of anticoagulation should be low in patients with sustained palpitations, atrial enlargement, and nonsustained supraventricular arrhythmia on Holter. All patients with HCM should be assessed for their risk of sudden death regardless of severity of symptoms or morphology. The factors predictive of risk are 1) previous cardiac arrest; 2) unexplained syncope; 3) family history of premature sudden death; 4) abnormal blood pressure response to exercise; 5) nonsustained ventricular tachycardia; and 6) severe left ventricular hypertrophy ≥ 30 mm.