Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a heart condition characterized by thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart (cardiac) muscle. Cardiac hypertrophy often begins in adolescence or young adulthood, although it can develop at any time throughout life
Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affects an estimated 1 in 500 people worldwide and is the most common genetic heart disease in the United States.
This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. Rarely, both copies of the gene are altered, leading to more severe signs and symptoms. In most cases, an affected person has one parent with the condition.
Mutations in one of several genes can cause familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; the most commonly involved genes are MYH7, MYBPC3, TNNT2, and TNNI3. Other genes, including some that have not been identified, may also be involved in this condition. The proteins produced from the genes associated with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy play important roles in contraction of the heart muscle by forming muscle cell structures called sarcomeres. Sarcomeres, which are the basic units of muscle contraction, are made up of thick and thin protein filaments
The symptoms of familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are variable, even within the same family. Many affected individuals have no symptoms. People with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may experience:
While most people with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are symptom-free or have only mild symptoms, this condition can have serious consequences. It can cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that may be life threatening. People with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have an increased risk of sudden death, even if they have no other symptoms of the condition. A small number of affected individuals develop potentially fatal heart failure, which may require heart transplantation.
Genetics Home Reference - www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov
The American Heart Association - www.heart.org
The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association - www.4hcm.org