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Cardiol Clin. 1988 May;6(2):233-88.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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  • 1University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a diverse clinical and pathophysiologic disorder of unknown cause that principally involves the left ventricle and is manifested as asymmetric or concentric hypertrophy. If asymmetric, the hypertrophy is usually greatest in the ventricular septum, but variations occur in which the hypertrophy may be maximal at the mid-ventricular level, at the apex, or rarely, in the free wall of the left ventricle. Right ventricular involvement is usually less evident. The principal abnormality in systole is the obstruction to left ventricular outflow caused by systolic anterior motion (SAM) of the anterior or posterior mitral leaflet(s) with mitral leaflet-septal contact. SAM occurs as the result of the Venturi forces created by the rapid ejection of blood through an outflow tract that is narrowed by upper septal hypertrophy, drawing the mitral leaflet(s) anteriorly. The time of onset and duration of mitral leaflet-septal contact determine the magnitude of the pressure gradient. Mitral regurgitation invariably accompanies the obstruction to outflow. Ventriculomyectomy surgery, by thinning the septum and widening the outflow tract, abolishes the abnormal mitral leaflet motion and, consequently, the obstruction to outflow and the mitral regurgitation. In symptomatic patients with resting obstruction this form of surgery more dramatically relieves the systolic abnormalities and the accompanying symptoms than any form of medical therapy currently available. The extent of hypertrophy is believed to be the principal determinant of impaired left ventricular relaxation and increased chamber stiffness that characterize diastole in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Diastolic dysfunction is common to most such patients irrespective of the presence or absence of outflow obstruction. Calcium entry blockers may improve the left ventricular relaxation process and relieve symptoms in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, particularly the subgroup with no obstruction to outflow. Atrial and ventricular arrhythmias are responsible for a significant proportion of the morbidity and mortality, and their prevalence appears to depend on the presence of obstruction and the extent of hypertrophy. Thus, the major manifestations of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in systole and diastole, as well as the disturbances in rhythm, appear to be related to the site and/or extent of the hypertrophic process. We have learned much about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the 30 years since its modern description. The vast majority of symptomatic patients can now be improved with specific medical or surgical therapy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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