December 29, 2011 by staff
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, On Christmas night, a vibrant 18-year-old, Ben Breedlove, died from complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), an abnormal thickening of the heart’s walls. It’s a hereditary condition that often manifests in childhood.
As the director of the Gregory M. Hirsch Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center in Hackensack, N.J., I have seen hundreds of patients with HCM.
I never want anyone to walk away with the idea that an early death is inevitable for patients with HCM. Individuals who receive treatment can have a life expectancy the same as the rest of the population.
This treatment is not limited to medicine or pacemaker defibrillators, but also includes surgery; and, for some, surgery can be life-changing. The tough reality is that not all patients who receive treatment live a long life. A case in point is the story of Ben Breedlove.
I watched “This Is My Story,” a YouTube video produced by Ben, for the first time with my friend, Fred Hirsch.
Fred’s only child, Gregory, died of a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at the age of 29 in 2001.
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