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Cardiovascular genetics: the role of genetic testing in diagnosis and management of patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy


Genetic testing in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a valuable tool to manage patients and their families. Genetic testing can help inform diagnosis and differentiate HCM from other disorders that also result in increased left ventricular wall thickness, thereby directly impacting treatment. Moreover, genetic testing can definitively identify at-risk relatives and focus family management. Pathogenic variants in sarcomere and sarcomere-related genes have been implicated in causing HCM, and targeted gene panel testing is recommended for patients once a clinical diagnosis has been established. If a pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant is identified in a patient with HCM, predictive genetic testing is recommended for their at-risk relatives to determine who is at risk and to guide longitudinal screening and risk stratification. However, there are important challenges and considerations to implementing genetic testing in clinical practice. Genetic testing results can have psychological and other implications for patients and their families, emphasising the importance of genetic counselling before and after genetic testing. Determining the clinical relevance of genetic testing results is also complex and requires expertise in understanding of human genetic variation and clinical manifestations of the disease. In this review, we discuss the genetics of HCM and how to integrate genetic testing in clinical practice.

  • hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • clinical genetics

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