First Coast News
Understanding the heart condition that caused teen's death
by Juliette Dryer
Days after a 13-year-old collapsed during basketball tryouts, we’re learning more about the condition authorities say led to her death. Preliminary autopsy results show Paris Byrd had Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. “The heart muscle over time thickens,” Dr. Sabrina Phillips, a cardiologist with the Mayo Clinic, said of the condition. “The interaction while the heart is squeezing and the geometry of the heart wall itself result in an obstruction.” Dr. Phillips said about 1-in-500 people are affected by some form of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, although not all cases cause obstruction of blood flow. However, both the obstructive and non-obstructive forms increase susceptibility to abnormal heart rhythms that can be deadly.
Reach: First Coast News refers to three television stations in Jacksonville, Florida. WJXX, the ABC affiliate; WTLV, the NBC affiliate; and WCWJ, the CW affiliate.
Context: Sabrina Phillips, M.D. is a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often goes undiagnosed because many people with the disease have few, if any, symptoms and can lead normal lives with no significant problems. However, in a small number of people with HCM, the thickened heart muscle can cause shortness of breath, chest pain or problems in the heart's electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). You can read more for the condition here.
Contact: Paul Scotti