Valentine's day... and other matters of the heart
As Valentine's Day looms, we pay more attention to the incredible muscle inside our chest that beats over 100,000 times a day. I want to bring focus to a serious heart condition: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).
HCM is a cardiac disease where the heart muscles enlarge and the wall of the heart chambers thicken. The chambers are reduced in size so they cannot hold as much blood, and the walls cannot relax properly.
Image Credit - Mayo Foundation
It affects 1 in 500 people and is more common in relatives of people with the disease.
Most people who suffer from HCM are able to live a full and normal life. They will not have symptoms and do not need treatment. However, it can be extremely serious. HCM is the most common cause of sudden and unexpected death in childhood and young athletes. Many will recall when footballer Fabrice Muamba had a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch in 2012 at White Hart Lane. The cause was HCM. He was thankfully saved but retired from professional football.
HCM can lead to heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms. Blood flow from the heart can be restricted and the valves can become leaky. These heart changes can cause:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Temporary loss of consciousness
Treatment for HCN includes:
- Medication to control blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythm or other symptoms
- ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) – a small device that gives your heart shocks to restore normal heart rhythm.
I act for the family of a man who died from HCM. He was diagnosed with the condition and was showing signs of heart failure making him eligible for an ICD. Due to an admin error, a follow-up appointment to consider an ICD was not generated and he died from a preventable heart attack. No amount of money will bring back this much loved husband and father, but the litigation will secure the financial future of his surviving wife and daughter.
HCM is a serious heart condition which if undiagnosed or mismanaged can have fatal and devastating consequences.
Iona is a partner in the Clinical and Medical Negligence team at Fieldfisher. She is on the specialist Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel, a member of AvMA and is an accredited expert in acting for the victims of medical accidents.
You can contact Iona on:
- Tel - 0207 861 4571
- Email - firstname.lastname@example.org