According to a recent study by doctors at Tufts HCM Center in collaboration with colleagues in Italy, exercise testing is an invaluable tool in the assessment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients.
In particular, two types of exercise testing are most valuable for HCM patients:
- Exercise Echocardiogram: These tests are valuable in determining whether a patient has obstruction. It provides a physiological way to measure whether or not a patient has an obstructed left ventricular outflow tract and hence, may potentially be in need of an invasive procedure to treat the obstruction. According to the article, approximately 1/3 of HCM patients have latent obstruction which may only be seen during or after exercise. This obstruction is not always apparent from their resting echocardiogram.
- Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing: These tests help determine functional capacity and provide a quantifiable indicator of heart failure symptoms. This test can identify patients in need of more aggressive treatment options, or who are potentially in need of transplant. A particularly valuable piece of data from this test is the “VO2 max” score, which is a measure of the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise which reflects the cardiorespiratory fitness level of a person.
*Editor’s note – Exercise testing was particularly informative and important in my own HCM treatment. It was only after my doctors performed an exercise echo that the extent of my obstruction became apparent. The symptoms I had been suffering appeared to be out of proportion to what was visualized on my resting echo. The exercise echo helped my doctors understand the cause of my symptoms which made the next step, in my case a myectomy, much clearer.
You can read my full story here .