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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 1997 Jun;10(5):545-55.

Subaortic septal bulge simulates hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by angulation of the septum with age, independent of focal hypertrophy. An echocardiographic study.

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Division of Cardiology, State University of New York Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn, USA.


Focal hypertrophy of the basal anterior septum occurs not infrequently in elderly patients and is considered by some to be a significant form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; others consider it to be an unimportant anatomic variant associated with an angulated septum, called a septal bulge (SB). We analyzed 94 cases of SB collected prospectively and compared them with 88 patients with extensive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), 20 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy limited to the entire septum (ASH), and 20 age-matched controls. The SB cases were also divided into three groups, with marked, moderate, or no basal septal hypertrophy associated with the occurrence of an SB. All groups of SB patients had increased fractional shortening compared with controls (0.48 +/- 0.07 versus controls 0.40 +/- 0.07), comparable with HCM (0.48 +/- 0.12), and increased left ventricular outflow tract velocity both at rest and especially after amyl nitrite inhalation (3.42 +/- 1.35 versus 1.55 +/- 0.60 m/sec [controls]). Other features of HCM were not present: normal wall thickness except for the basal septal hypertrophy, no anterior malposition in SB patients, no age-independent reversal of ratio of early to late mitral inflow velocity (E/A), and no decrease in end-diastolic dimension. It is concluded that outflow tract narrowing by an angulated septum is the primary mechanism responsible for the increased outflow tract velocity, rather than the hypertrophic septum. The resultant increase in convective acceleration simulates the dynamics of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The focal hypertrophy may be secondary and contributory to the enhanced ventricular dynamics, but it does not appear to be a primary cardiomyopathy.

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