The treatment for individuals with HCM is different for each person and is based on a number of features including the presence of outflow tract obstruction (blood isn’t able to leave the left ventricle because of the thickened muscle), the function of the heart (how well it is squeezing), the presence of any symptoms, the age and activity level of the patient, the presence of abnormal heart rhythms and the family history. Treatment is aimed at minimizing or preventing symptoms and reducing the risk of complications such as heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Individuals with HCM need to be followed by a cardiologist on a regular basis. Medications are used to treat symptoms and prevent further complications. Medications such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers relax the heart muscle, allowing it to function more efficiently. Other medications may be prescribed as needed to control heart rate or decrease the occurrence of arrhythmias.
Lifestyle changes are recommended for some individuals. Specifically, participating in competitive or endurance sports places individuals at higher risk for heart rhythm problems and are not recommended for individuals with HCM. A medical procedure may be needed if the heart muscle becomes too thick or if a rhythm problem is detected.
Most people with HCM have a low risk for sudden cardiac death. However, it is important to identify the small number of patients with HCM who do have a higher risk for sudden cardiac arrest, so preventive measures can be taken. A physician can assess an individual’s risk and may prescribe preventive treatments such as antiarrhythmic medications or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to reduce the chance of a sudden cardiac death.