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You might have thick heart muscles and not even know it.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition that causes your heart muscle to get thick (enlarge), making it harder for your heart to pump blood. You might not know you have HCM because many people have few or no symptoms. Some people don’t even need treatment. If you do, you might have chest pain, shortness of breath, feel dizzy or lightheaded and sometimes even faint. Most people with HCM can live life without any other health-related problems.

But sometimes, HCM can lead to serious complications, like heart failure or even sudden cardiac arrest. That’s why it’s important for your provider to know exactly what’s going on and for you to get treatment right away if you need it. At Cleveland Clinic, our leading heart specialists and surgeons are top in their field and can diagnose and treat HCM quickly. We’re here to help you have a healthy heart.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) Care?

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is nationally ranked for its heart care and recognized as the world leader in cardiovascular care.

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High-volume specialty:

People travel from across the country and the globe to Cleveland Clinic for top heart care. Our industry-leading cardiac team has treated thousands of people with heart conditions, including HCM, with some of the best outcomes in the U.S.

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Recognized expertise:

Cleveland Clinic has received many awards and recognition for its excellent heart care. Some of the world’s best heart specialists and surgeons are at Cleveland Clinic.

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Research and innovation:

We’re always researching and testing new treatments and therapies for heart conditions of all kinds, including the use of mavacamten, the first FDA-approved drug specifically for people with HCM, and other emerging gene therapies. We’re also actively involved in many clinical trials that test new drugs, surgery techniques and treatments before they’re widely available.

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Collaborative care:

Cleveland Clinic’s team approach to care means you may see providers from different specialties, depending on your needs. Your team may include world-renowned cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac rehabilitation specialists and more. Meet our team.

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Virtual visits:

Cleveland Clinic’s virtual visits are a convenient alternative to seeing your provider in person for some appointments. You’ll get the same great care but from the comfort of home. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, computer or tablet.

Diagnosing Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) at Cleveland Clinic

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes your heart muscle to thicken (especially the ventricles, or lower heart chambers). It can also make your left ventricle stiff and cause changes in your mitral valves and heart cells. This can cause:

Often, we don’t know what causes HCM. But high blood pressure, aging and even genetics can play a part in developing this condition.

What to expect during your first visit

When you first come to see us, we’ll ask you about your symptoms (if you have any), how long you’ve had them and if they’re getting worse.

Your provider will also do a physical exam. They’ll listen to your heart and lungs to see if they can hear a heart murmur — common with HCM. They might also do bloodwork and order some tests.

Imaging tests

These tests help us see if your heart muscle is thick and how well your heart is pumping blood:

Meet Our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) Team

At Cleveland Clinic, you’ll have a handpicked team of providers who’ll work together to diagnose and treat your hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Depending on your needs, your providers might include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) at Cleveland Clinic

Your care team will use your test results, physical exam and their conversations with you to guide your personalized treatment plan. They’ll consider your age, activity level, symptoms and well your heart is working when deciding the best way to treat your HCM.

Your provider will recommend treatments to reduce or stop your symptoms and cut your risk of complications, like heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest. Once diagnosed, you’ll likely have regular visits to check on your heart health.

Lifestyle changes

Making good choices when it comes to diet, exercise and tobacco, alcohol and recreational drug use can help make your heart as healthy as it can be. Our dietitians, cardiac rehab providers and psychologists can help you make lifestyle changes, if needed.


We may prescribe medications to treat your HCM symptoms and prevent complications. Mavacamten is the first FDA-approved drug specifically developed to target HCM. This innovative medication makes it easier for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. It has proven to have great success in reducing the symptoms of HCM and is often used as an alternative to surgery.

Other medications your provider might recommend include beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers to relax your heart muscle. You may also take medications that control your heart rate or lower your chance of having arrhythmias.

When you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, you’re also at risk for a serious infection called bacterial endocarditis. We may decide you need to take antibiotics to help prevent this.


If your care team decides that you need surgery to treat your HCM, they may recommend:

  • Septal myectomy: In this open-heart surgery, your surgeon will remove the thickened heart tissue so blood can flow better through your heart.
  • Alcohol septal ablation: If you can’t have a septal myectomy, your provider may recommend this minimally invasive procedure. Your surgeon will put a balloon catheter (thin, flexible tube) into the artery that supplies blood to the thickened tissue and inflate the catheter. Then, they’ll inject a small amount of pure alcohol through the catheter. The alcohol destroys the cells that are causing the tissue to thicken and helps it shrink back to a more normal size.

Implantable arrhythmia detection device

If you’re at risk for life-threatening arrhythmias or sudden cardiac arrest, your provider may recommend an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Placed just under your skin, this battery-powered device connects to your heart with wires. It sends an electric shock to your heart if it detects arrhythmia and can prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

Taking the Next Step

You may be shocked to learn you have a heart condition, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — especially if you don’t have symptoms. But the good news is, HCM is highly treatable, and in some cases, you might not need treatment at all to lead an active life. Whatever your needs, Cleveland Clinic’s top cardiology team can help your heart stay healthy with personalized, compassionate care.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s hypertrophic cardiomyopathy experts is easy. We’re here to help you get care.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s hypertrophic cardiomyopathy experts is easy. We’re here to help you get care.

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