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If you have a parent, brother, sister, or child (first-degree relative) with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), your care team may recommend you get screened for the condition. Screening can involve genetic testing or imaging tests, or both.

These steps help ensure that those with a higher chance of having the condition are monitored and treated if needed.

Counseling can help you assess your family’s risk of HCM and decide on testing. A counselor can review the pros and cons of genetic testing, how the test results will be used, and whether it will be covered by your insurance plan.

If you have HCM, the main reason to perform genetic testing is to find out if genetic screening would be useful for your children, siblings, or parents. But genetic tests don’t always detect the mutation for HCM.

Heart imaging tests and other assessments are usually recommended after 12 years of age. Thickening of the heart muscle often doesn’t appear until adolescence. But it may start earlier if the child is having symptoms or plays competitive sports.

When to screen also could be guided by your family’s specific history or preference. Talk to your care team to be sure you understand whether you or your family members should be screened and how often.