Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

What is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is type of heart disease that causes an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle. The abnormal thickening of the heart muscle can occur in different areas of the heart muscle and can lead to different symptoms in every person. The thickened heart muscle is most commonly seen in the lower pumping chamber of the heart (left ventricle) which can cause obstruction of blood flow and also lead to heart muscle stiffness, leaking valves and abnormal heart function.

What are Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?

  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (sudden cardiac death)
  • Passing out

Causes and Risk Factors of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Some people can have a heart murmur that can be found during a physical exam. This is related to the abnormal blood flow moving through the heart.

How is HCM diagnosed?

This most common initial evaluation is with an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to assess the heart muscle thickness, heart valves and overall heart function. At times, further testing is needed to confirm your diagnosis which can include a heart rhythm monitor, stress test or cardiac MRI.

Treatment of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

At MUSC Health our doctors are the most experienced in the state in performing interventions for HCM including alcohol septal ablations and surgical myectomy, and medical therapies including the newest class of medications, cardiac myosin inhibitors, called mavacamten.

What to expect during my visit?

  • Meet with one of our HCM experts to discuss your diagnosis and answer your questions related to HCM and your care.
  • Review your tests results and discuss if further evaluation or tests are needed.
  • Discuss medical therapy and surgical options that may be considered to treat your heart condition.
  • Some patients may require an ICD (implantable defibrillator) if they have significant abnormal heart rhythms. We may refer you to one of our electrophysiologist (heart rhythm specialists) for their expert opinion.
  • We also often recommend genetic testing for HCM. You may meet with one of our genetic counselors to discuss genetic testing for your heart condition

Why should I consider genetic testing?

We will also discuss genetic testing, as this heart condition is often due to abnormal genes (DNA) and can run in families. Our genetic counselors will meet with you to review your family history and discuss the process of genetic testing. If an abnormal gene is found, we can help to determine if this condition is carried in other family members. 

Why choose MUSC for HCM Care?

  • Depth of experience: MUSC Health is South Carolina's only academic medical institution. Our education program comes with a commitment to knowing and teaching the latest techniques. Our doctors are the most experienced at performing interventions such as including alcohol septal ablation (ASA) and surgical myectomy.
  • Extensive, comprehensive treatment options:
    • Newest medical therapies for HCM including cardiac myosin inhibitors, called mavacamten.
    • Septal reduction therapy for HCM including surgical myectomy and alcohol septal ablation.
  • Advancing innovation: extensive clinical trials program offers leading-edge treatments that aren't available at all medical centers. For more information, visit the Heart & Vascular Clinical Trials page or the MAPLE-HCM website.
  • Collaborative, team-based approach: Our HCM team actively collaborates with specialists including advanced heart failure, interventional cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, electrophysiology, cardiac genetics.

The HCM team at MUSC Health specializes in six areas: Advanced Heart Failure, Interventional Cardiology, Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Electrophysiology, Cardiac Genetics, and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

100 +

New Patients Treated Annually


Approximate Alcohol Septal Ablations Performed Annually


Approximate Myectomies Performed Annually

The HCM Team at MUSC

Jessica Atkins, M.D. 

Jessica Atkins, M.D.

Advanced Heart Failure

Jan Griffin, M.D. 

Jan Griffin, M.D.

Advanced Heart Failure

Christopher D. Nielsen, M.D. 

Christopher Nielsen, M.D.

Interventional Cardiology

Valerian L.C. Fernandes, M.D. 

Valerian Fernandes, M.D.

Interventional Cardiology

David Gregg 

David Gregg, M.D.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Dr. Stephanie Gaydos 

Stephanie Gaydos, M.D.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Rochelle Judd 

Rochelle Judd, FNP-BC

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Michael R. Gold, M.D., Ph.D. 

Michael Gold, M.D.


Daniel Judge, M.D. 

Daniel Judge, M.D.

Cardiac Genetics

 Lucas Witer, M.D.

Lucas Witer, M.D.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Jaime Hayes, RN 

Jaime Justice, BSN, RN

Nurse Coordinator