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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: lessons from history
  1. C J Coats,
  2. A Hollman
  1. The Heart Hospital, London, UK
  1. Dr Caroline J Coats, The Heart Hospital, 16–18 Westmoreland Street, London W1G 8PH, UK; carolinecoats{at}


The modern description of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is credited to the London pathologist, Robert Donald Teare who likened the disease to “a tumour of the heart” and published his observations in the British Heart Journal 50 years ago. Teare recognised asymmetrical hypertrophy and myocyte disarray as a familial condition associated with premature and sudden death in young people. He rightly deserves the accolade for bringing a poorly understood, but well recognised phenomenon into the public domain. Thick and heavy hearts had been of interest and investigation to physicians and pathologists for many centuries. This article reviews the early history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and reflects on several centuries of progress in our understanding of the condition.

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  • Funding: None.

  • Competing interests: None.

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