Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) often causes the muscular wall between the left and right ventricles, called the septum, to thicken and take up more space within the heart’s chambers. This thickening makes it harder for blood to flow through the heart. The harder the heart has to work, the greater the risk of heart failure.
If you have HCM, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure known as alcohol septal ablation to thin the heart’s thickened septum. Alcohol septal ablation is an option for some people who are not candidates for open heart surgery, or those whose condition can no longer be managed with medication. This procedure, performed by interventional cardiologist at NYU Langone’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, does not require a surgical incision in the chest or the use of a heart–lung bypass machine.
During this procedure, which is performed with sedation, highly concentrated alcohol is injected through a catheter into an artery near the heart’s enlarged septum. This causes tissue in the area to die. In time, scar tissue—which is thinner—replaces the dead tissue, leading to less obstruction and improved blood flow from the heart.
This procedure requires a five-day hospital stay, and your activity at home is then restricted for another two to four weeks.
Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of this procedure if you are a candidate.
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