Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition where the muscular layer of the heart, called the myocardium, becomes abnormally thickened (hypertrophied). This thickened myocardium makes it more difficult for the heart to effectively pump blood throughout the body. Many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often have this condition without experiencing any signs and symptoms of the disease. In those who do experience issues, the signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, and abnormal heart rhythms due to the electrical conduction system of the heart being affected.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually an inherited condition which is passed down through generations due to defects in certain genes. The severity of the condition also varies between affected individuals.
The complications associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include obstructed blood flow from the heart and this can lead to heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) due to the stretching of the heart muscle, dilated cardiomyopathy where the left ventricle becomes enlarged, and sudden cardiac death.
The treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy includes medical and surgical intervention by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, respectively. Medical therapy includes treating the condition with medications such as beta and calcium-channel blockers to slow down the heart rate, allowing the heart to pump properly, and anti-arrhythmic drugs to manage any abnormal heart rhythms. Patients who have underlying or newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation will have blood thinners (anticoagulants) prescribed to prevent the formation of blood clots on the heart valves. If these prove ineffective, then surgical procedures such as a septal myectomy is performed where part of the thickened heart muscle is removed during open heart surgery. Septal ablation can also be performed where alcohol is injected into the artery supplying the abnormal area of the heart causing the thickened heart tissue to be destroyed. In the case of abnormal heart rhythms that don’t respond to medical treatment, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are implanted in the chests of these patients to immediately shock the heart if it goes into a life-threatening arrhythmia.
Xpertdox: Top 5 list
The top medical centers, where some of the most experienced doctors that manage patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy work at, are located throughout the United States. These are internationally renowned hospitals with world-class facilities that offer comprehensive services, and may already be known to many patients. We shall mention these centers as well as some of the best doctors who specialize in managing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Clinic has the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute where doctors at this facility, since 1978, have treated hundreds of patients diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The hypertrophic cardiomyopathy center at the hospital incorporates a multidisciplinary team approach so that the patients’ treatment plans are individualized for their needs, as well as for the patients’ families. This team consists of cardiologists with an interest in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and physicians and nurses from disciplines such as cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric cardiology, genetics, and psychology. The Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute also boasts one of the best surgical outcomes relating to patients who receive septal myectomies, where around 200 of these procedures are performed at this facility every year. The facility also conducts research into new treatments and therapies with the goal of improving the care and outcomes of patients. Some of the top rated doctors at the Cleveland Clinic who manage hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include Dr Harry M Lever, Dr Milind Y Desai, Dr Nicholas G Smedira and Dr Maran Thamilarasan.
Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, NJ: Morristown Medical Center has a multidisciplinary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy program which is run at the Chanin T. Mast Center for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. The founding principle of this program is to provide caring and personalized care to patients who are suspected or known with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is the first program of its kind in New Jersey, and the healthcare professionals who work there provide world-class services to patients throughout the region and the state. Not only do they provide personalized patient care, but they also offer support to the patient and their family members. This program also offers screening of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to help protect young athletes from sudden cardiac death. The specialists involved with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at Morristown Medical Center include Dr Martin S Maron, Dr Robert F Coyne, Dr Jay H Curwin and Dr Ethan J Rowin.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA: The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center includes the Division of CardioVascular Medicine which makes up part of the CardioVascular Institute. The mission of the institute is to provide caring and outstanding care to patients, education for future cardiologists, and to advance the environment of cardiovascular research. Being one of three divisions that form the institute, the CardioVascular division uses the expertise from their doctors and healthcare workers and combine it with that of professionals from the other institutes to provide a multidisciplinary team approach. This provides effective and integrated care of patients diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Some of the top doctors who specialize in this cardiac pathology include Dr Frederick C Basilico, Dr Warren J Manning and Dr Evan Appelbaum.
Mayo Clinic Hospital, Rochester, MN: The Mayo Clinic in Rochester includes the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic where specialists are trained in diagnosing and managing patients who are suspected or known to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The doctors, specialists and allied health workers at the Mayo Clinic are committed to incorporating an integrated approach in developing individualized care for patients. Each year, specialists working at Mayo Clinic assess and manage more than 1,400 people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Also, pediatric cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are available to provide services at this campus of Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic physicians and healthcare professionals offer a comprehensive and complete service which includes initial assessment of the patient, genetic testing, risk stratification, non-invasive testing, medical treatment, surgical treatment, and supportive management. The top rated doctors working at this hospital, and who specialize in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, include Dr Rick A Nishimura, Dr Steve R Ommen and Dr Jeffrey B Geske.
The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX: The specialists at Houston Methodist are among the world’s most experienced experts in the diagnosing and management of patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The physicians working at Houston Methodist’s DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center are the doctors who developed the guidelines for diagnosing the condition, and which are currently being used around the world. Cardiologists around the Gulf Coast of the United States refer their patient with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to this center because of the expertise of the specialists at this facility. Houston Methodist was also the first hospital in the United States to perform the alcohol ablation procedure, and the facility continues to be at the forefront of technological advancements. Top-rated specialists with an interest in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at this center include Dr John M Buergler, Dr Sherif F Nagueh and Dr Clement A Defelice.