Why should I go to an HCMA Recognized Center of Excellence?

If you have not yet been evaluated by an HCMA Recognized Center of Excellence, you may be wondering what the difference is between the care offered by a COE and the care you receive at your community cardiologist.

  • Expertise
Being evaluated by a Center of Excellence means that you will be cared for by a team with subspecialty care experience.  Rather than receiving just one person’s opinion about a condition with which they may have minimal clinical exposure, you will have access to a group of clinicians with extensive exposure in the area of HCM. 
  • Volume of care
On average, a general cardiologist sees between five and ten people with HCM in his or her practice.  A COE program sees hundreds or even thousands of people with HCM.  Having a larger number of patients with HCM means they have seen more variations of the disease.  In other words, your symptoms are much less likely to surprise them.
  • Facilities
It may require travel, but facilities are an important aspect of effective, high-quality care in HCM.  Without high-quality imaging, it is difficult to have a clear understanding of your specific anatomy and your HCM. COEs have been evaluated by the HCMA to ensure that they have high-volume imaging and are supported by institutions that understand the importance of up-to-date technology. 

While COEs do offer high quality care, not everyone is able to see a COE for primary management of their HCM.  Depending on what you and your doctor decide, you may, for example, want to see your community cardiologist for maintenance and see your COE once a year for management. Several centers now also offer services for record and management review to ensure that your care is in line with HCM treatment standards.  Whatever you decide, the important thing is to get the information that you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your care.

High volume care centers for HCM have advanced research and improved outcomes and quality of life.  The HCMA works hard to ensure patients know where to access high volume care, and likewise, helps community physicians know where to refer patients for care.   The goal of the HCMA is simple: to provide you, your family, and those you love with HCM the highest quality of life possible.  [i] [ii] [iii] For more information, please contact the HCMA at 973-983-7429 or support@4hcm.org.
[i] Gersh BJ, Maron BJ, Bonow RO, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A Report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines Developed in Collaboration With the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;58(25):e212-e260. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2011.06.011.
[ii]Maron, BJ, Salberg, L. (2014).  A guide to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: For patients, their families and interested physicians. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
[iii] Ommen SR, Nishimura RA. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy—One Case per Year? A Clarion Call to Do What Is Right. JAMA Cardiol. 2016;1(3):333-334. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.0277.