Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart muscle disease caused by the thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy). This thickening is typically in the left ventricle – the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Typical signs of HCM include decreased ability to exercise, abnormal heart beats (arrhythmias), symptoms of heart failure and even sudden cardiac death.
HCM is the most common heart disease that can be inherited through families. If your case of HCM is caused by a genetic abnormality (a change in your genes), your family members have a 50% chance to also develop HCM. Genetic testing can help uncover the origin of the disease, tailor therapies to each person and identify the disease in your family members.
Le Bonheur’s Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program provides comprehensive cardiovascular care for pediatric HCM patients from screening to diagnosis to medical and surgical therapeutic options. The Heart Institute at Le Bonheur is recognized as an Accredited Center of Care Program by the Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation and is certified as a Center of Excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association.
Why Le Bonheur’s Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program?
- We have one of the largest HCM clinics in the world with six specially-trained, dedicated cardiologists providing complementary perspectives. Our patients and families are also supported by speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and dietitians.
- We are one of the few HCM centers in the country dedicated to the care of pediatric patients with cardiomyopathies.
- We provide precision medicine in the management of cardiomyopathies. This means that disease treatment and prevention measures are tailored to the unique circumstances of individuals and their family with heritable cardiovascular diseases, including their genetic makeup, environment and lifestyle.
- Our HCM team consults with a wide variety of subspecialists to care for every aspect of a child’s health, including:
- Cardiac Critical Care Intensivists
- Advanced Imaging Cardiologists
- Infectious Disease Specialists
- Cardiac Physiologists
To schedule an appointment at the HCM clinic, call 901-287-7159.
Patients visiting the HCM Center may undergo heart imaging and testing during their appointment. These diagnostic tests include:
- Electrocardiography (ECG)
- Echocardiography (ECHO)
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR)
- Cardiopumonary exercise testing (CPET)
- Genetic and metabolic testing
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy treatment options are tailored to each patient based on the characteristics of their disease. Some management options include:
- Oral medications (beta-blockers, calcium channel blocks and others)
- Electrophysiological therapies such as pacemakers and implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICD)
- Surgical options when necessary
- Categorization of the disease incorporating cardio-pulmonary exercise testing
We provide full genetic screening for family members of HCM patients who may be considered to be at risk of having the disease. Genetic evaluation includes:
- Pre-test counseling regarding the benefits and limits of genetic testing
- Post-test counseling, including discussion of what your genetic results mean as well as risk stratification and therapeutic options for the patient and other at-risk family members
- Discussion of insurance coverage and protections provided by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
Preparing for Your Appointment
The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic is located on the 2nd floor of Le Bonheur’s Outpatient Center at 51 N. Dunlap Street. Parking is available in the garage at 130 North Manassas Street. Prior to your appointment, you will receive a call to discuss basic information about your visit, including transportation and lodging options.
Please arrive at your appointment 30 minutes early for registration, and prepare for the clinic visit to last up to four hours, depending on the complexity of your child’s case and tests needed. After basic vital information is gathered, you and your child will first meet in an exam room with one of our nurses who will explain your clinic visit schedule, studies or tests that need to be completed and any referrals needed to other specialties. You and your child may need to visit another room to complete studies or tests such as an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).
Then you will meet with your specially-trained cardiologist in the exam room for physical examination and to discuss the study results, future plans for your child and their best path of management for HCM. Nurses will handle any further testing needed and instruct you on how to schedule follow-up appointments.
Patient and Family Resources
- Cardiac Kids Camp
- Out-of-town families may be able to stay at FedExFamilyHouse, a 75-room and suite facility for out-of-town families with children receiving treatment at Le Bonheur.
- Places to stay
- Family-friendly activities in Memphis
Meet Our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Team
Dr. Towbin serves as executive co-director of Le Bonheur’s Heart Institute, chief of Pediatric Cardiology for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr Towbin is also medical director of cardiomyopathy, heart failure, mechanical circulatory support (ventricular assist devices [VADs]), cardio-oncology, cardio-hematology and heart transplant at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Dr. Towbin specializes in diagnostic and therapeutic advances for cardiomyopathies (heart muscle disease), heart failure, heart transplantation and cardiovascular genetics. His research work and clinical expertise in pediatric heart failure, which has generated over 580 published manuscripts, is internationally known, and he is widely considered a leader in pediatric cardiology specifically in the area of cardiomyopathy care for children. Dr. Towbin is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty.
Dr. Martinez is a specially-trained cardiologist in the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and an associate professor in Pediatric Cardiology and Genetics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Martinez completed his Pediatric Cardiology fellowship at Riley Children's Hospital at Indiana University and received advanced specialty training in cardiomyopathy, heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplantation at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He is currently the medical director of the Cardiovascular Genetics service in Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Heart Institute and serves as a consulting cardio-oncologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, participating in the development of clinical preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for children and adult patients with cancer who become susceptible to cardiovascular disease. His areas of focus include pediatric transplant cardiology, cardiomyopathies, heart failure, cardio-genetics and cardio-oncology.
Dr. Absi is a dual-specialty trained pediatric cardiologist and cardiac intensive care physician who trained at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. More recently, he received expert training in cardiomyopathy and mechanical circulation support (ventricular assist devices; VADs) at Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Absi is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty and is an associate professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Absi is medical director of Mechanical Circulatory Support, which includes ventricular assist devices (VADs), at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
Dr. Ryan is a specially-trained pediatric cardiologist with advanced training in cardiomyopathy, heart failure and heart transplant care. She completed her fellowship training in Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Heart Failure and Heart Transplantation at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Heart Institute. She is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty.
Jenny Strelsin is a pediatric acute care nurse practitioner in the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital with clinical expertise in the care of infants, children, teens and young adults with cardiomyopathy, heart failure, mechanical circulatory support/ventricular assist devices (MCS/VADs) and heart transplantation. Streslin is an associate instructor at the University of Tennessee Health Science College of Nursing. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing and Pediatric Acute Care -BC from the University of South Alabama.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic Staff
Mechanical Circulatory Support Coordinator
Amber Merritt, BSN, MSN, CCRN
Heart Transplant Coordinators
Liz Hoffmaster, RN
Tiffany Street, RN
Kathryn Carpenter, RN
Jennifer Marshall, RN, NP