What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle where the heart muscle is too thick. In most cases, this thickening occurs in left ventricle of the heart, and often involves the wall between the heart’s two ventricles.


The symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may be worse during physical exertion, but may also come on suddenly. Symptoms can include:

  • fainting
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • abnormal heart rhythm

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often runs in families. At least half of all children with this condition have a parent or sibling with some thickening of the heart muscle, though they may not have symptoms.


Your child’s cardiologist may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy:

  • blood tests
  • chest x-rays
  • electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • echocardiogram
  • cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • a stress test, or exercise test
  • cardiac catherization
  • coronary angiography


Treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy varies depending on the severity of the condition. Children with a mild condition may only need medication. Those with more severe cardiomyopathy may need surgery or a heart transplant.

Learn more about Pediatric Cardiology services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians.


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