Posted October 23, 2013
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a serious health concern affecting Americans of all ages. Medical professionals describe it as a disease of the heart, causing the muscles to thicken and not pump blood efficiently through the body. Through new research efforts, scientists have discovered key risk factors to help determine children who may be at risk for this fatal heart disease.
HCM is the most common inherited heart disease, affecting 1 in 500 people, making it more prevalent than the occurrence of muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and AIDS in the United States.
The Mayo Clinic reports that HCM is the most common identifiable cause of sudden death in young people and the leading cause of death in competitive athletes. While rare, sudden death occurs in approximately 1 percent of people diagnosed with HCM.
New research discovered that children in danger of developing HCM complications have two or more of these risk factors:
- Diagnosed as a baby
- Low weight
- Congestive heart failure
- Signs of abnormal left ventricle structure or function
Now medical professionals examining kids with heart issues can evaluate their condition based on these risk factors to determine whether they could benefit from heart transplant surgery or other types of medical intervention.
Researchers plan to continue studying children with HCM to evaluate rates of sudden death and determine the best treatment options.
Learn more about HCM: