Is HCM Fatal?

Is HCM Fatal?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common disease of cardiac muscles and in some cases; it also leads to sudden cardiac death. In children, HCM is usually caused from syndromes and metabolic diseases, including the glycogen storage disease. In adults and adolescents, HCM is primarily caused by mutation in cardiac sarcomere protein genes, and is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.

HCM fatal or sudden cardiac death is mainly caused by ventricular arrhythmias, which can be treated by implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) therapy. It is very important that patient should have a proper knowledge to identify the risk that may occur at any point time. Since past 4 decades, medical experts and research professionals have recognized a number of phenotypic characteristics to identify those patients who might benefit an ICD.

Is HCM Fatal?

HCM and Death

However, there are very rare cases, when HCM patients die because of much physical exercise. According to latest studies, about 80% of patients have no symptom; only two out of ten are the diagnosed with HCM before their SCD. Although as per the international experts, it is also recommended that sudden cardiac death (SCD) or fatal in HCM is almost a relatively major and common cause of mortality in-patient with HCM. Sometimes, the problem takes place because of fatal arrhythmias, as this is only treated by implantable cardioverterdefibrillators (ICDs).

Mainly doctors consider exercise a major factor to trigger fatal arrhythmias and patients with a clear phenotypic expression of HCM should always avoid involving in competitive sports. SCD may take place in every stage or age of human life as children, adults, adolescents and aged person, while it takes place almost in the third and fourth decades of life. A majority of patients i.e., about 80% of HCM individuals dies while they take rest, while 12% HCM patients during their sleeping hours.

SCD exertion occurred mostly in young male patients and 11% patients were recreational or competitive athletes who just have HCM fatal. All these prove that sudden cardiac death in HCM patients occurs rarely during any sport activity. However, most of the times it takes place at rest and in some of the cases, it takes place when a person sleeps. This information also indicates that exercise SCD is only relevant in young males.

Key Aspects on Risk Factors in HCM Patients

The European Society of Cardiology study provides guidelines advancing an equation as the best way to know, which hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patient must have ICDs. This data completely implements key HCM strategies to identify ICD candidates, which are probably based on a rigid mathematical and statistical formula. However, as ESC promotes such data, it may be unreliable to identify any high risk factor in the patients suffering from HCM even though, it will be very beneficial for life saving therapy.

The method to know at what level of risk a HCM, the patient bears indicates risk stratification and it is concluded on some particular and very certain tests, such as ambulatory ECG monitoring, echocardiogram, and stress testing and according to the family’s health history. Fainting, extreme or over thickness of left ventricle and tachycardia, and extensive scarring of the wall, which are detectable by MRI are enough to highlight the risk factors.


Once you identify symptoms, it is essential for you to consult with your cardiologist and take recommendations related to genetic testing or cardiac surgery to manage your condition.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 17, 2018

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