hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM)

hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM)

one of a group of diseases of the myocardium associated with cardiac dysfunction. HOCM is an inherited condition (the result of multiple gene defects) in which the muscle of the left ventricular wall (mainly the septum) is thickened, reducing the size of the ventricular chamber, causing possible valve dysfunction and most importantly obstruction of outflow into the aorta. Microscopically, the myocardial cells are not of normal pattern, resulting in disruption of the electrical pathways within the heart, leading potentially to fatal arrhythmias. HOCM is one of the commonest causes of sudden cardiac death in young sportspeople, when growth of the abnormal cardiac muscle is greatest. HOCM may be asymptomatic or it can cause exercise-related dizziness, breathlessness, chest pain and palpitations. Diagnosis depends on ECG and echocardiography. Treatment includes cessation of strenuous activity, but this does not always prevent premature death. See also sudden death.
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