Twenty-two patients with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy were treated with the calcium inhibitor, verapamil, which was administered in a mean oral dose of 480 mg per day. After an average of 15 months of treatment (4 to 24 months), the QRS amplitude in the electrocardiogram was significantly reduced from 4.2 to 3.8 mV. Heart volume calculated from chest x-ray films in the supine position decreased significantly from 858 to 766 ml per 1.73 m2. In 10 patients, follow-up heart catheterisation showed a decrease in left ventricular muscle mass in 7 patients and a slight increase in 3 patients. Coronary artery diameter decreased in 7 patients, increased in 1, and was unchanged in 2. The reduction in coronary artery diameter is considered to be a consequence of a reduced heart muscle mass. From all available clinical data it is concluded that verapamil treatment is superior to beta-blocker therapy.
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