Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of Dr. Howard J. Luks. Dr. Luks wrote this blog entry in collaboration with HCM expert Dr. Srihari S. Naidu of New York’s Westchester Medical Center. You can find the original post here. You can find both Dr. Luks and Dr. Naidu on Twitter @hjluks and @SrihariNaiduMD.
Sudden cardiac death in young athletes continues with alarming frequency. The most common cause of sudden death in the young athlete is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM. Simply put, HCM means the heart muscle is bigger. Many of us believe that bigger muscle means stronger muscle. That is not always the case with the heart. The heart is a mechanical pump with a complex arrangement of chambers which store the blood. How that pump works is controlled by a very complex electrical system. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can interfere with one or both of these critical functions of the heart and lead to sudden cardiac death.