Font Size
A
A
A
1

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Risk of Sudden Death


Topic Overview

Some people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at high risk for sudden death. It can occur at any age, but it is most shocking when it happens to young adults or athletes. While the media often highlight these tragic deaths, sudden death is rare. It occurs in about 1 out of 100 adults with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy each year.1

Sudden death is often the result of ventricular tachycardia (a type of rapid heart rate) or other dangerous arrhythmias, which can be caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

A genetic factor appears to influence which people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are more likely to die suddenly. Other risk factors for sudden death include severe blockage of the left ventricleClick here to see an illustration., multiple fainting (syncope) episodes, recurring episodes of ventricular tachycardia, and an abnormal drop in blood pressure during exercise.

To find out your risk of sudden death, your doctor will do tests and ask you about your health and family history. Your doctor might check to see if you:2

  • Have had cardiac arrest or ventricular tachycardia in the past.
  • Had a close relative who had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and died suddenly.
  • Have fainted (syncope).
  • Have had low blood pressure during or after exercise.
  • Have extreme left ventricle thickness (more than 30 millimeters).

If you are at high risk for sudden death, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) might be right for you. An ICD can identify life-threatening arrhythmias and successfully restore a normal heartbeat.

Because of the possible increased risk of sudden death, it is a good idea for family members of people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

1

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary