OBJECTIVES - The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of "malignant" mutations in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
BACKGROUND - Previous genotype-phenotype studies have implicated four mutations (R403Q, R453C, G716R and R719W) as highly malignant defects in the beta-myosin heavy chain (MYH7). In the cardiac troponin T gene (TNNT2), a specific mutation (R92W) has been associated with high risk of sudden death. Routine clinical screening for these malignant mutations has been suggested to identify high-risk individuals.
METHODS - We screened 293 unrelated individuals with HCM seen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, between April 1997 and October 2000. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was obtained after informed consent; amplification of MYH7 exons 13 (R403Q), 14 (R453C) and 19 (G716R and R719W), and TNNT2 exon 9 (R92W) was performed by polymerase chain reaction. The mutations were detected using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography and automated DNA sequencing.
RESULTS - The mean age at diagnosis was 42 years with 53 patients diagnosed before age 25. The mean maximal left ventricular wall thickness was 21 mm. Nearly one-third of cases were familial and one-fourth had a family history of sudden cardiac death. Only 3 of the 293 patients possessed one of the five "malignant" mutations, and all 3 patients were <25 years of age at presentation (p < 0.006).
CONCLUSIONS - This finding underscores the profound genetic heterogeneity in HCM. Only 1% of unrelated individuals seen at a tertiary referral center for HCM possessed one of the five "malignant" mutations that were examined. Routine clinical testing for these specific mutations is of low yield.