Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy characterized by marked hypertrophy of the posterior left ventricular free wall: Significance and clinical implications

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the American College of Cardiology








This report describes a subgroup of 17 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an unusual and distinctive pattern of left ventricular hypertrophy characterized on echocardiography by marked thickening of the posterior left ventricular free wall and virtually normal or only modestly increased ventricular septal thickness. This distribution of hypertrophy often created a distinctive pattern of "inverted" asymmetry of the posterior wall relative to the septum. The thickness of the posterior wall was 20 to 42 mm (mean 25), while that of the basal ventricular septum was only 12 to 24 mm (mean 17). The left ventricular outflow tract was narrowed because of anterior displacement of the mitral valve within the small left ventricular cavity. Systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve was present in 16 of the 17 patients. The patients ranged in age from 13 to 54 years (mean 31) at most recent evaluation; most (11 of 17, 65%) were severely symptomatic and had experienced important symptoms early in life (before age 40). The condition of only 4 of these 11 patients improved with medical therapy over an average follow-up period of 9 years; however, 6 of the 7 patients who had unsuccessful medical treatment and underwent operation with mitral valve replacement (5 patients) or ventricular septal myotomy-myectomy (1 patient) experienced symptomatic benefit from surgery. The subgroup of patients described in this report underscores the morphologic and clinical diversity that exists within the overall disease spectrum of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Characteristically, the patients were young, severely symptomatic and demonstrated evidence of outflow obstruction and an "inverted" asymmetric pattern of posterior free wall left ventricular hypertrophy. Because of their relatively modest ventricular septal hypertrophy, mitral valve replacement (rather than myotomy-myectomy) may be the operative procedure of choice in such patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. © 1991.