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Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, May 24, 2018 by

An idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (IHSS) is a genetic disease that causes the heart muscle cells to enlarge and the walls of the ventricles to thicken. It’s a common cause of cardiac arrest in young people, including young athletes, but it affects men and women of all ages equally. It’s more commonly known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

IHSS also can affect the heart’s mitral valve, causing blood to back-flow through the valve.

Some people who have IHSS have no signs or symptoms, while others have severe symptoms and complications, such as shortness of breath and serious arrhythmias.

Though rare, some people with IHSS can have sudden cardiac arrest during vigorous physical activity, which can trigger dangerous arrhythmias.

IHSS is usually inherited; if a couple (where one person has IHSS) has a child, there is a one in two chance that the child may develop IHSS. It can also develop over time because of high blood pressure or aging. Diseases such as diabetes or thyroid disease can also cause IHSS.

Known symptoms of idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis

Symptoms of IHSS can range from mild to severe and may develop gradually. These may include:

  • Dizziness and fainting attacks – These occur more commonly during physical activity but may also occur even when at rest.
  • Angina (chest pain) – The pain occurs because the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle is not sufficient to meet the demands of the thickened muscle.
  • Palpitations – Irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias can cause palpitations.
  • Shortness of breath – In severe cases, the individual can be out of breath even at rest.

Body systems harmed by idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis

Some potential complications of IHSS include heart valve regurgitation, wherein the blood leaks back to through the valve; severe arrhythmia; sudden cardiac arrest; development of blood clot; heart failure; dilated cardiomyopathy; and infective endocarditis. Individuals with an obstructive disease may develop end-stage or burn-out Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis

Keep your heart functioning at its best by filling your plate with heart-healthy foods like fruits and vegetables; paying attention to fiber; eating fish a couple of times a week; eating healthy fats and avoiding unhealthy fats like trans fats, as well as limiting your salt intake. No single food is a cure-all, but certain foods have been shown to improve your heart health, including the following.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Chocolate
  • Fish
  • Green tea
  • Nuts
  • Pomegranates
  • Raisins
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole grains
  • Wine
  • Yogurt

Treatments, management options for idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis

Some people may not need treatment, but for those who do, treatment for IHSS aims to control its symptoms and reduce any complications. Common treatments involve medications such as anti-arrhythmic medication, anticoagulants (blood thinners) and diuretics (water tablets); and surgery that involves reducing or removing the area of thickened heart muscle to reduce the obstruction and help the blood to flow through the heart. This is done by either septal alcohol ablation or surgical myectomy, a form of open heart surgery.

In addition to medication and surgery, certain lifestyle changes may help reduce the effect of IHSS.

  • Healthy eating
  • Minimize alcohol consumption
  • Minimize caffeine
  • Minimize salt intake
  • Quit smoking

Exercise is also recommended for people with a heart condition. Moderate exercise can be important for people with IHSS, depending on the symptoms they have. Talk to your healthcare provider about what exercise is suitable for you.

Where to learn more


An idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (IHSS) is a genetic disease that causes the heart muscle cells to enlarge and the walls of the ventricles to thicken.

IHSS is a common cause of cardiac arrest in young athletes.

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