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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in children: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis

John Jefferies, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA
Thomas D Ryan, MD, PhD
Martin S Maron, MD
Section Editor
John K Triedman, MD
Deputy Editors
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is one of the most common forms of inherited cardiomyopathy in both adults and children, and it is characterized by hypertrophy of the left ventricle (LV) which sometimes involves the right ventricle. The disease course is highly variable, but it is well recognized that there is an increased risk of morbidity and sudden cardiac death (SCD). (See "Sudden cardiac arrest and death in children".)

In broad terms, the symptoms related to HCM can be categorized as those related to heart failure, chest pain, or arrhythmias. Patients with HCM have an increased incidence of both supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias and are at an increased risk for SCD. Overall, age at death has a bimodal distribution with the highest frequencies in infancy and adolescence, and the poorest survival in patients with inborn errors of metabolism and malformation syndromes diagnosed before one year of age [1]. HCM is the most common cause of SCD in young, athletic, seemingly healthy individuals, accounting for more than one-third of SCD cases [2]. (See "Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Prevalence, pathophysiology, and management of concurrent atrial arrhythmias" and "Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Assessment and management of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death risk".)

Importantly, no medical treatments have been shown to alter disease progression. Management strategies are focused on symptom improvement, with utilization of potentially life-saving therapy in the form of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in patients deemed to be at high risk of SCD.

This topic will review the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of HCM in children. The management an prognosis of HCM in children are discussed separately. (See "Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in children: Management and prognosis".)

The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, management, and natural history of HCM in adults are discussed separately:

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 05, 2017.
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