To date, risk assessment in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) has largely focused on whether there is a need for an implantable defibrillator by evaluating an individual patient’s short term risk of sudden death, but has not looked at the long term risks of heart failure and other adverse outcomes over time.
A recent retrospective study by European HCM specialists asked the question of whether the addition of advanced imaging could assist in pinpointing patients at high risk of heart failure and/or other serious HCM complications over time.
Continue reading “LGE Seen on MRI Top Risk Factor for HCM”
A recent article by several noted HCM experts shares their recommendations for the screening and evaluation of patients with HCM using several scenarios commonly encountered in clinical practice. Notably, this paper makes several recommendations which differ from the 2020 ACC/AHA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (2020 Guidelines).
In particular, the article recommends:
- Cardiac MRI with contrast upon initial evaluation, and every 3 – 5 years thereafter. (The 2020 Guidelines recommend Cardiac MRI in certain situations, but not for all patients)
- Genetic testing only in cases where a pathogenic or likely pathogenic mutation has been identified in a family member and in limited other circumstances (the 2020 Guidelines recommends genetic testing for all as part of the initial assessment)
- Screening of family members 12 or older only (the 2020 Guidelines recommend screening of children of any age when genetic HCM is diagnosed in a family member and no later than puberty, in any event)
- That HCM patients be disqualified from competitive sports. (The 2020 guidelines instead recommend a shared decision making approach).
Continue reading “Recommendations for HCM Depart from 2020 ACC/AHA Guidelines”
In a recent study, researchers examined whether cardiac MRI results might help predict which patients would would go on to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib) that was serious enough to require hospitalization, require electrical cardioversion or catheter ablation, or identify those patients who might go on to develop permanent AFib.
The study found that the major predictors of these serious AFib consequences in HCM were those who were of older age, those with an increased BMI (this was especially important in patients under age 33), increased left atrial volume index as seen on cardiac MRI (this was especially important in middle-aged patients), reduced left atrial contractile function (this was especially important in middle-age and older patients), and moderate or severe mitral valve regurgitation.
The researchers concluded that using cardiac MRI to measure left atrial volume and contractile function might help medical providers ability to intervene before major AFib develops in HCM patients, specifically by helping patients find ways to reduce their weight and by treating mitral regurgitation and left atrial function more aggressively.
The full paper can be found here and for a summary from Cardiac Rhythm News click here.
HCM specialists at Tufts Medical Center and Toronto General Hospital have devised a formula which they hope will help predict which HCM patients may go on to develop atrial fibrillation (“AFib”) over time. This tool can assist doctors in determining which patients are at highest risk so that these patients can be closely monitored and treated appropriately. AFib can be extremely dangerous for HCM patients since it can precipitate a stroke if not appropriately treated.
Because existing tools to predict atrial fibrillation have not proven to be accurate for HCM patients, the researchers studied 1900 HCM patients with the goal of devising a new tool to help HCM patients and their physicians learn their personal risk for AFib over a 2 and 5 year period.
Continue reading “Can This Formula Predict AFib in HCM Patients?”
If you are looking for a good survey of current practices in the treatment of HCM, a recent article published in the journal Structural Heart by Dr. Ahmad Masri and the team at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) provides an informative overview of thirty controversies and considerations in the treatment of HCM. This article explains in some detail how the doctors at this HCM Center approach these situations.
Continue reading “HCM Treatment: The View from OHSU”
A recent study published in Clinical Research in Cardiology found that atrial fibrillation is a frequent complication of HCM and can be an important predictor of negative outcomes.
These findings suggest that practitioners should aggressively screen for and treat atrial fibrillation in HCM patients to improve long term outcomes.
The software update which allows the Apple Watch 4 to take an EKG and to detect atrial fibrillation went live last week. In anticipation of the availability of these functions, I purchased an Apple Watch 4. As soon as the software was available, I downloaded it and have used it every day since. So far, I am quite pleased with my purchase. The technology works very well, even despite the fact that I have an implantable pacemaker/defibrillator.
The strip it takes looks like this:
You can send a strip via email to your doctor, and all are saved for posterity on your Iphone. (NOTE: YOU MUST HAVE AN IPHONE CAPABLE OF RUNNING THE SOFTWARE IN ORDER TO USE THE WATCH).
And, as long as you tell the software that you have never been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, if it detects atrial fibrillation while you wearing the watch, it will send you an alert. I haven’t gotten such an alert yet and hope not to!
This article provides a pretty accurate history of handheld consumer EKG devices along with a description of what it is like to download and use the Apple software.
And here is a story about a man whose watch spotted his previously undiagnosed Afib. After a trip to the emergency room, he was able to receive proper treatment and avert a potential health crisis.
A recent paper published in the journal Circulation looked at the clinical course of approximately 4,600 HCM patients over the course of more than 24,000 clinical years, which the paper describes as the largest comprehensive cohort of HCM patients ever studied.
This study examined patients from eight high volume HCM centers which aggregated their institutional data into a database known as the Sarcomere Human Cardiomyopathy Registry (or the acronym the “SHaRe” for short). The results of the study showed that, in general, HCM patients are at substantially elevated risk for atrial fibrillation and heart failure, and have significantly higher mortality rates than that of the general U.S. population.
Continue reading “HCM Researchers Put their Heads Together to Improve Lives of HCM Patients”