Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a complex condition that interferes with blood flow in or out of your heart. HCM can be serious, but with the right care, most people with HCM can live full, active lives and have a normal life expectancy.
The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at Cleveland Clinic Florida specializes in diagnosing and treating HCM. Our doctors have dedicated their careers to treating HCM, so you receive unmatched expertise.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Treatment at Cleveland Clinic Florida: Why Choose Us?
Our team provides the latest and most effective treatments for both obstructive and nonobstructive HCM. As our patient, you benefit from:
- Multispecialty team: We bring together clinicians that specialize in HCM from cardiovascular medicine and cardiothoracic surgery, as well as specialized nurses and advance practice providers. Together, this team delivers compassionate care coupled with decades of experience. Meet our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center team.
- Center of Excellence: The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA) recognizes Cleveland Clinic Florida as an HCM Center of Excellence. The HCMA grants this distinction to programs that provide exceptional quality of care, research and proven expertise in the condition.
- Genetic expertise: Many cases of HCM are hereditary, and early diagnosis and treatment are important. Our skilled genetic counselors offer genetic testing to spot hereditary forms of HCM. From there, our genetic experts provide virtual genetic counseling for people affected by HCM and their families to guide them through next steps.
- Advanced surgical options: Twice a year, a Cleveland Clinic Ohio surgeon travels to our Florida clinic to perform septal myectomy surgery for obstructive HCM. This surgeon is among the highest volume HCM surgeons in the world. Learn more about cardiac and thoracic surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida.
- Leading experts: Our patients benefit from our close relationship with Cleveland Clinic’s HCM Center in Cleveland, which is among the top in the country in terms of volume and experience. And here in Florida, we are among the largest HCM treatment centers in the state.
Our team is involved in multiple research studies that benefit the entire HCM community. As our patient, you may be eligible for leading-edge diagnostic tools and treatments not widely available.
HCM Diagnosis and Treatment
HCM is commonly called a thickening of the heart muscle, but the condition can involve other factors, too. Some people with HCM don’t have thickening at all, but rather have an abnormal muscle, heart chamber or valve that interferes with blood flow. At Cleveland Clinic Florida, we treat both types of HCM, which include:
- Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM): With this type, the septum between your heart’s chambers is too thick, so it blocks or reduces blood flow.
- Hypertrophic nonobstructive cardiomyopathy: With this type, you may have stiffness in your left ventricle and lower blood flow, making it harder for blood to flow into or out of your heart.
Because HCM is complex, it requires an experienced team that has deep knowledge of how to diagnose it. At Cleveland Clinic Florida, our entire cardiology division works together to get answers and coordinate the proper treatment.
Our team performs specialized tests to collect detailed images of your heart and how it’s working. Then, with our years of expertise, we interpret these tests, which may include:
- Cardiac MRI.
- Cardiac CT.
- Echocardiogram (Echo).
- Electrocardiogram (EKG).
- Exercise stress testing.
Mild to moderate HCM often responds well to medications. The correct medical treatment can relieve symptoms and improve blood flow in and out of your heart.
Our experienced team crafts a medication plan that’s best for your individual needs. You also receive regular follow-up care so we can track how your treatment is working for you.
Alcohol septal ablation for HOCM
Alcohol septal ablation is a nonsurgical treatment for HOCM. Our doctors may recommend this procedure for people who have severe symptoms but cannot undergo surgery.
During this procedure, an interventional cardiologist injects a small amount of alcohol on the thickened septum in your heart. The alcohol thins a small area of the septum and improves blood flow.
Our interventional cardiologists are highly experienced in this specialized procedure. Learn more about the Cleveland Clinic Florida Structural and Interventional Cardiology Program.
Surgery for HCM
People who have severe HCM symptoms and who haven’t had success with medications may need surgery. At Cleveland Clinic Florida, our team includes experienced surgeons who have performed a high volume of these procedures.
At Cleveland Clinic Florida, our surgeons have expertise in:
- Septal myectomy: During this procedure, the surgeon removes a small amount of the thickened septal wall. This procedure restores proper blood flow in and out of your heart in hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.
- Heart transplant: A heart transplant can treat HCM in people who have severe heart failure with nonobstructive HCM. Our active heart transplant program performs more transplants and has a shorter waitlist time than most others in the nation.
Procedures for the treatment of hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy include septal myectomy, ethanol ablation, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and heart failure management, as needed.
During this surgical procedure, the surgeon removes a small amount of the thickened septal wall to widen the outflow tract (the path the blood takes) from the left ventricle to the aorta. A Septal Myectomy is considered when medications are not effective in treating HCM. This frequently eliminates mitral valve regurgitation.
This procedure, also called septal ablation, is usually reserved for patients who are not eligible candidates for septal myectomy. The ablation procedure is performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. First, the small coronary artery that supplies blood flow to the upper part of the septum is located during a cardiac catheterization procedure. A balloon catheter is inserted into the artery and inflated. A contrast agent is injected to locate the thickened septal wall that narrows the passageway from the left ventricle to the aorta. When the bulge is located, a tiny amount of pure alcohol is injected through the catheter. The alcohol kills the cells on contact, causing the septum to shrink back to a more normal size over the following months, widening the passage for blood flow. View the animated movie that shows ethanol ablation.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD)
ICDs are suggested for people at risk for life-threatening arrhythmias or sudden cardiac death. The ICD is a small device placed just under the skin and is connected to wire leads that are threaded through the vein to the heart. An ICD constantly monitors the heart rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy (a small but powerful shock) to the heart muscle to cause the heart to beat in a normal rhythm again. Your doctor will tell you if an ICD is recommended.