Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A majority of people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) have no symptoms, or very mild symptoms, and lead normal, active lives. Often, you can live for many years with HCM, with no change in your condition. However, some people with HCM can experience a variety of concerning symptoms, especially during or just after exercise or exertion, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart murmur, typically heard by your doctor during an exam
  • Heart palpitations, which may be due to an abnormal heart rhythm
  • Lightheadedness and/or fainting
  • Shortness of breath

A minority of patients with HCM who have no symptoms have an increased risk of sudden death, often at a young age, and often during competitive sports. Whether a patient is at increased risk for sudden death is determined by the cardiologist, based on a number of factors including the patient’s family history and the results of tests that evaluate the severity of muscle thickening, the heart’s ability to work normally during exercise, and the heart rhythm.

Meet the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.
Meet the Team
Downtown Chicago