Understanding hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

hypertrophic cardiomyopathyWhat is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)? The recent viral videos made by Ben Breedlove, a HCM patient has raised sympathy, questions and further inquiries from around the world.

See the video of Ben Breedlove’s YouTube Video About Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Before Passing Away below:

Z6mag describes Ben Breedlove’s YouTube video as explanation of  his life with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He starts off by writing, “All my life, I’ve had a heart condition.” “(HCM) short for Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.” “It’s a very serious and dangerous condition.” “As I grew older I learned more that it is dangerous.” “It has scared me a lot, and I hate that feeling.”

Deanne Breedlove, Ben’s mother, told CBS News, “He was about 13 months old. We were referred to a cardiologist and they did some tests and found out he has a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”

Citing CBS News, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart muscle, makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood – and causes chest pain, high blood pressure, and eventually, heart failure.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association explains more details that the main feature of HCM is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy literally means to thicken). Thickening is seen in the ventricular septal measurement (normal range .08-1.2cm), and in weight. In HCM, septal or wall measurements may be in the range of 1.3cm to 6.0+cm anywhere in the left ventricle.

“Heart muscle may also thicken in normal individuals as a result of high blood pressure or prolonged athletic training. Furthermore, there is a fine line between and athletic heart, hypertensive heart disease and a heart with HCM,” said the association.

Relevant readings: Diagnosis and Management of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy