Heart Surgery

Care to help make your heart pump better

The Ascension Saint Thomas Heart care team specializes in advanced care for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy program

For more information and to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiac specialists, please call 615-222-HCM5 (4265).

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a specific genetic condition that runs in families and can cause the heart muscle to become too bulky. When this happens, the heart may have trouble pumping blood effectively. In some case, the result can be sudden death.

The Ascension Saint Thomas Heart HCM program is accredited by the HCMA.  To learn more, visit www.4hcm.org.

What are the tests Ascension Saint Thomas Heart uses for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

There are several tests that may be ordered to give a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Testing is generally indicated when a patient's symptoms are suggestive of a cardiomyopathy. Tests can help the doctor determine the type of cardiomyopathy and the best course of treatment. This information is used to consider long term risks such as arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats. Tests can include but are not limited to:

  • An EKG to assess for normal electrical flow through the heart muscle.
  • A holter monitor to monitor for any irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias.
  • An Echocardiogram or an ""Echo"" is an ultrasound of the heart. This test will measure the thickness of the heart muscle, the spaces inside the chambers of the heart and indicate how well the heart pumps. This test can be done at rest or while exercising to see what changes occur to the heart during activity.
  • Stress testing to determine any possible cardiac symptoms and risks of cardiac life-threatening events.
  • A cardiac MRI to assess the location and extent of any scar tissue. This helps the doctor determine the risk for any irregular heartbeats.
  • Genetic testing is generally suggested since hypertrophic cardiomyopathy runs in families.

How is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy treated at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart?

Many patients who have this condition do not require treatment but do require periodic monitoring. The patients who do require treatment receive that treatment based on the severity of their condition and the symptoms that they have.

Treatment can include:

  • Medications to relieve trouble breathing, or chest pain. Medications are also given to control the heart's rhythm.
  • Surgery to implant a cardioverter-defibrillator, or ""ICD"" to keep the heart beating at a normal rate or to keep it beating in a normal rhythm so that blood flow to the brain and other organs will not be interrupted.
  • An alcohol septal ablation to put a controlled scar in a specific area of the heart to help it pump better [This is done when medications are not working].
  • Surgery [myomectomy] to remove parts of the heart muscle. [This is only done when medications are not working.]
  • A mitral valve repair or replacement if it is very diseased or thought to be a significant contributor to symptoms.

Ascension Saint Thomas hypertrophic cardiomyopathy clinical research

Despite the discovery of the disease over 50 years ago, there has been very little research dedicated to medical therapy. There is not a FDA approved drug that improves symptoms and lowers the risk of sudden cardiac death.

To enroll in clinical research, patients must be evaluated by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic to determine qualification.

How to Prepare for Your Visit

More detailed and personalized preparation instructions will be provided by your care team; however, the items below are recommended for all visits.

  • Organizing any family medical history of cardiac disease especially sudden cardiac death.
  • Bring medical records and any CDs of prior cardiac testing such as echos, MRIs, cardiac catheterizations, or prior genetic testing.

About Our Experts

The cardiac specialists with Ascension Saint Thomas Heart's Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic diagnose and treat patients who have a unique medical condition that is typically associated with an abnormal thickening of the heart.

Dr. Mark Zenker

Dr. Mark Zenker is a cardiac surgeon with Saint Thomas Heart. He specializes in complex cardiac surgery and procedures related to the treatment of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Dr. Zenker works with a multidisciplinary team of experts at the Saint Thomas Heart HCM clinic.

Parking for patients and family is available in the Harding Parking Garage.

For more information and to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiac specialists, please call 615-222-HCM5 (4265).

Featured Locations