Care and Treatment for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common type of cardiomyopathy, is a disease of the heart muscle that may run in families. It may cause no symptoms, but it can lead to serious complications. Duke cardiologists are experts in the diagnosis and management of cardiomyopathy and ensure you receive the right treatment for the heart conditions that can occur as a result. We help people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy live normal lives.

Understanding Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a group of diseases that affect the heart muscle. The most common type, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, occurs when the heart muscle wall thickens. This makes the muscle work harder, and the thicker muscle can obstruct the flow of blood exiting the heart. It often goes undiagnosed because many people have no or only mild symptoms. It is notorious for causing sudden death in young athletes but can affect people of all ages and activity levels.

Duke cardiologists are experts in treating all types of cardiomyopathy including:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which may be obstructive or non-obstructive, depending on what part of the heart muscle thickens and whether that prevents blood from flowing out of the left ventricle.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart size is larger, but muscle walls are thinner and weaker and normal.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy, a rare condition that occurs when the lower chambers of the heart become rigid and stiff, which restricts filling of the heart during muscle relaxation.

Any type of cardiomyopathy can occur without a known cause, be present without symptoms, and cause serious heart problems including life-threatening arrhythmias, mitral valve disease, and heart failure. Identifying the disease early, and working with cardiologists who are experts in its diagnosis and management, will prevent cardiomyopathy from progressing and causing serious complications.

A Team of Experts Treats Your Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Our cardiologists are experts in managing cardiomyopathy and work with other Duke cardiologists who are specialists in the related heart problems that can arise. Our comprehensive evaluation results in a treatment plan personalized to your condition.

  • We use advanced imaging techniques, such as cardiac MRI, to diagnose cardiomyopathy and confirm its type. Our heart imaging experts' use of and skill with advanced imaging also helps us define the location and extent of related heart problems.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can run in families, which is why genetic testing is often recommended. If genetic testing determines that one or more of your family members carries a gene linked to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, our genetic counselors educate them about potential concerns and proactive steps they can take to lower their risk for future heart problems.
  • As a Duke patient, you may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that offer access to new therapies, procedures, or devices that aren’t widely available.
  • If a heart rhythm disorder is suspected, our electrophysiologists recommend a range of options to keep your heart in rhythm, from medications to implanted defibrillators to surgery.
  • Our experienced heart surgeons and interventional cardiologists perform procedures to remove an obstruction that may result from the thickening of your heart muscle or treat problems of the mitral valve.
  • Specialized treatment is available to pregnant women with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Our maternal-fetal medicine experts help women manage cardiac issues during pregnancy.


If hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is suspected, a thorough history and physical exam will be performed and diagnostic tests may be ordered, including one or more of the following.


Your treatment is based solely on your unique condition. It may include one or more of the following options.

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