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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic disorder characterised by hypertrophy (thickening) of the heart muscle. It affects 1 in 500 individuals and is the commonest cause of sudden cardiac death in children and young adults. While the majority of patients remain asymptomatic, some develop complications, such as sudden death, stroke and heart failure. Reliable methods to distinguish who will remain well and who will be devastated by complications are lacking.

A gene mutation in HCM disrupts the normal alignment of muscle cells in the heart, a phenomenon known as fibre disarray. Fibre disarray can disrupt contraction, generate life-threatening heart rhythms and cause sudden death. Until now we could only demonstrate fibre disarray at post mortem.

Technological advances in cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) using state-of-the-art diffusion tensor imaging has now made it possible to assess fibre disarray non-invasively in life. Fibre disarray has the potential to become an important clinical tool in HCM for risk stratification and for the assessment of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at preventing development of disarray.

Currently recruiting individuals:

  • with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • age 18-60
  • without high blood pressure, diabetes or coronary artery disease
  • without implantable devices or metal implants (e.g. pacemaker or implantable cardioverter       defibrillator, ICD)

If you are a researcher and would like to know more about this study, or if you have similar research interests, please contact  Dr Rina Ariga Tel:  01865 221873 rina.ariga@cardiov.ox.ac.uk