Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a primary myocardial disease that primarily affects left ventricular (LV) myocardium and is characterized by mild to severe thickening (concentric hypertrophy) of the LV wall (septum and/or free wall) and papillary muscles.
In humans, the familial nature of HCM was first reported in 1958. It has been demonstrated that over 70% of human cases of HCM are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, with most other cases being sporadic (although often still genetic in origin).
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a cardiac disease due to an inherent abnormality in the myocardium that results in a decrease in myocardial contractility (i.e., myocardial failure) and is not secondary to another primary disease.
Studies have been performed in humans to determine if early administration of ACE inhibitors to human patients with ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy decreases the progression of myocardial failure and so reduces mortality.
Although there are highly sophisticated and advanced diagnostic modalities in cardiology, the basic technique of a good cardiovascular examination is still an essential fundamental element of the cardiovascular workup. Other basic diagnostic modalities that are readily available in most practices include thoracic radiographs, electrocardiography, and blood pressure measurement.
Echocardiography has emerged as the most valuable non-invasive tool for evaluation of cardiac structure, function, blood flow patterns, and has greatly diminished the need for diagnostic cardiac catheterizations and angiocardiography in many cases. Echocardiography is one tool for evaluation of the cardiac patient, but should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tests including thoracic radiography and electrocardiography for a global assessment of the patient.