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 HCM

ANCHOR LEAD: HCM IS THE ACRONYM FOR THE LEADING CAUSE OF SUDDEN DEATH IN YOUNGER PEOPLE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS.

When it happens, we’re all in shock.  A young athlete, in great shape and presumably at the height of training and performance, dies suddenly, often while competing.  Ted Abraham, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, says the most likely cause is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, and that a simple test could have detected the problem.

ABRAHAM:  The primary finding is on echocardiography or ultrasound of the heart and we’re looking for thickening of the heart muscle, and if there is thickening that gives you a clue as to whether this person needs additional evaluation, including maybe a genetic evaluation, more echocardiography, or stress testing to see if they do have the morphologic features that are consistent with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM.  :24

Abraham says the advice to people with the condition is to stop vigorous exercise, which simply puts too much strain on the heart.  Other interventions may also be recommended by a cardiologist familiar with HCM.  I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.

 


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