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Questions for the Cardiologist


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Tina Redsull Find out more about Tina Redsull
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  • Questions for the Cardiologist

    Hi...I'm new to this group. My husband has been diagnosed with HOCM via an Echo ordered by his primary care doctor. He has his first appointment with a cardiologist on Wednesday and needless to say we're both quite concerened. For those of you who have been dealing with this for some time, do you have any advice about what to expect on the first visit and what questions to be sure to ask? I've been trying to read everything I can get my hands on today and want to make sure we make the most of the visit on Wednesday. Also, trying to understand the first Echo report is obviously like reading Greek to me. What does a Gradient Peak 21 mmHg mean? Is it good or bad? Does anyone know what "preserved left ventricular systolic function" means?

    I'm sorry if it seems like I'm asking silly questions, but my husband is my life and I'm very worried.

    Thanks so much to all of you for any help you can provide!

    Have a great day!


  • #2

    Welcome to our site. Please read through the site, including the parts about overview, diagnosis, symptoms, treatments, etc. That will give you a good start when you go to the doctor. Write all of your questions down, even the ones that might seem silly. That way you will be less likely to forget to ask something. One thing you will want to know is the septal thickness.

    The gradient peak that you mentioned means that there is an obstruction and it indicates how high the pressure gets in the left ventricle because of the obstruction. That pressure causes many people to have more symptoms than people without any obstruction.

    I would recommend you call Lisa Salberg, the HCMA president, at 973-983-7429. She can talk to you about specialists who would be right for your husband, based on where you live and the particulars of his situation.

    We are here to help in any way that we can. Please let us know if there is any questions we can answer and if there is anything else we can do. No question is too silly to ask. Most of us have asked the exact thing at one time or another.


    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


    • #3
      When first diagnosed with HCM or any chronic illness there is a time of adjustment for patient and family - allow yourselves this time and try not to get overwhelmed
      we are here to help you each step of the way
      You will want to know several things and ask some questions as well as GIVE information to the doctor.
      Something often overlooked is the fact that the doctor is meeting you for the 1st time and HCM is highly variable..so he/she will have many questions for you before he/she can answer any of your questions with quality information.
      You may want to ask for your measurements - what is the septal wall measurement and the left free wall and gernerally if you are obstructed or not -from the information you have given it appears so.
      You will want to ask what treatment the doctor is thinking about and you may want to ask about what possible reactions from medications you should be on the look out for.
      You will also want to ask how many patients your doctor treats with HCM and ask if they are obstructed or nonobstructed.
      Your doctor should recommend your children and your husbands siblings be screened for HCM - as well as his parents.
      You will want to go to the doctor with a CLEAR family history - if someone dies young MANY years ago..it still counts remember to tell the doctor all details of your family tree. Including any diagnosis of other heart related problems in the family.
      Well there is a good start for your 1st visit with a cardiologist... I know it will be stressful but you will do fine.

      PS - REMEMBER HCM is a family affair - even if you do not HAVE HCM your family is now living with it.

      Any questions please call the office.

      Best wishes,
      Lisa Salberg
      Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
      YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

      Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
      lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
      Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
      Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
      Currently not obstructed
      Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)