Symptoms of HCM

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) may cause few symptoms, even in those who have had the condition for some time, or it can manifest dramatically, as sudden heart failure. There is a great deal of variation both in the severity of symptoms, and in the progression of the disease.

In the early stages of HCM, individuals may report shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, fainting or dizziness, especially upon exertion, and palpitations—a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Because none of these symptoms is unique to HCM, the condition is often misdiagnosed as exercise-induced asthma, mitral valve prolapse, or anxiety/depression.

Complications of HCM

While HCM involves a structural abnormality in the heart muscle, patients often have conduction problems in the biological wiring of the heart as well.

Atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm that affects the normal pumping of the heart, is a common complication associated with HCM. Patients may also suffer ventricular tachycardia and other serious arrhythmias.

In addition, blood clots may form in the hypertrophic heart, then travel through the bloodstream, causing a stroke, heart attack, or reduced blood flow to the arms and legs.