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New with AHCM and Questions


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julie Find out more about julie
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  • New with AHCM and Questions

    Hi, I'm 41 and was diagnosed with Apical HCM a few months ago. I went to the doctors with palpitations that I had had over a four day period (extra heart beat every minute or so) - he did an ECG and it was abnormal - the results showed that I had had a minor heart attack. He sent me to the cardiologist who diagnosed AHCM with a thickness of 2.35 mm on the outside of the apex. He prescribed beta blockers to help my heart relax and fill better. My sister has been checked out and she is OK, my mum had a difficult echo but they believe she has a thickened septum although she has no symptoms. It all came as a bit of a shock and I have since read loads on the condition. I am actually looking forward to going back to the cardiologist because I think I can have a reasonably decent conversation with him now about the condition. However, I do have some questions which I have not been able to find answers to yet. I have inverted T waves - what are they? During my exercise ECG, my T waves normalised - why would that be? During the exercise, upsloping ST depression was induced - what does that mean? In recovery, the ST changes immediately recovered and the T waves became inverted again. Can anyone shed any light on any of this please.

    So pleased that there is a forum like this available for people to discuss the condition. Thanks.

  • #2
    Hi Julie and welcome to this site.

    I'm sorry, I do not know much about EKGs, they always look like I had a heart attack and they are always abnormal.

    But, there are really great people here that will be able to shed some light on this.

    Again, welcome, very glad to see you here.

    49 yrs. old
    Diagnosed at 31.
    Cardiac Arrest 2003, RF Ablation in AZ, no positive result -
    First ICD 2003 - In 2006 lead went bad, abandoned lead, threaded new one & new generator
    Myectomy 5-5-05 at The Cleveland Clinic - Dr. Lever & Dr. Smedira -heart surgeon.
    Currently have Grade 2 Diastolic Dysfunction with pulmonary hypertension & pulmonary edema.
    My brother passed away suddenly at 34 yrs old from HCM.
    2 teenage children, ages 17 and 15.


    • #3
      I'm not an expert on EKG's, but I know that many people with HCM have inverted T waves. Likewise, many have EKG's that make it appear they've had heart attacks when they haven't. We're glad you're here and we hope you learn a lot with us. There is also a British site for information on HCM, but it deals with other cardiomyopathies too. Please feel free to check it out at your convenience. www.cardiomyopthy.org


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


      • #4
        Usually, an inverted T wave indicates ischemia. Mine normally occur during exercise and we've since found out they have not cause and damage.

        Mary S.


        • #5
          HCM "heart attacks" and T waves

          The T wave is very, very often inverted in HCM patients. The ECG is an electrical map of the heart's contractions which are caused by the positively and negatively charged ions of calcium and sodium (as well as some potassium and magnesium in smaller amounts) --this is a little over-simplified but it is a good way to understand the ECG/EKG.

          An inverted T wave means that, at that moment, the heart is electrically charged in the opposite way it is supposed to be. My personal hunch is that it is due to the septal wall being too thick for the heart to get the charge right.

          As for the ECG "looking like a heart attack," the abnormal readings that an HCM heart produces trigger the machine's diagnostics to print "consistent with ischemia" (aka heart attack) on them since heart attacks cause heart muscle damage that screws up the heart beat. The disorganized tissue of the HCM heart muscle mimics the damage of a heart attack.

          Heart muscle is designed to conduct the electrical charge quickly and easily and anything that impedes the path will trigger changes, regardless of how or why the muscle is different.


          • #6
            Sarah, that's the best explanation I have ever read - I actually understand it, thanks very much.