Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Children

Heart Care

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a form of heart muscle disease that occurs due to genetic problems with the structure of the heart muscle. The gene that leads to this condition can be inherited or occurs from changes in a child’s genome. The abnormal structure of the heart muscle causes it to become thick, which makes it more difficult to pump blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This extra strain can lead to the uneven development of the heart muscle and blockages of blood flow through the heart—it can even lead to fatal abnormal arrhythmias.

HCM in children often leads to chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness, and fainting, especially during physical activity. If your doctor suspects that your child may be suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, he or she may suggest a few diagnostic tests to evaluate your child’s heart function . These tests may include a chest x-ray, blood tests, a stress test to see how your child’s heart responds to exercise, the attachment of a heart catheter, or an echocardiography.

Although this condition is not completely curable, it can be managed by controlling symptoms and working to prevent complications associated with the condition. Certain medications may be indicated to help remove excess fluid from the body, easing the strain on the heart muscle. A child with an arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat) may need to take anti-arrhythmic and blood-thinning medicine to prevent the formation of blood clots. In cases when blood flow is blocked, surgery may be necessary to remove the thickened portion of the heart muscle or to repair a damaged heart valve.

Your child may be at risk for HCM if he or she has a closely related family member, such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent, who also has the disease. To find an experienced and compassionate pediatric specialist in the greater Las Vegas area, contact the staff of Sunrise Children’s Hospital by calling (702) 731-5437 today. Our facility offers one of the largest pediatric cardiac care programs in the Southwest, providing healthcare to children throughout the region.

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