Media Contacts

Suzanne Winchester

Associate Director, Public Affairs, University of Utah Health
Phone: 801-581-3102

Mar 18, 2019 12:00 AM

University of Utah Health has been named an official Center of Excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA), joining the ranks of 36 other specialty facilities across the country. HCMA Centers of Excellence are recognized for providing comprehensive diagnostic, treatment, education and research programs.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a complex, hereditary disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. In severe cases, the hypertrophy can lead to heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.

HCM is considered the most common of all genetic heart conditions. Recent data using echocardiography and genetic testing estimates that between 700,000 and 725,00 people in the U.S. have the disease.  HCM symptoms can include: shortness of breath; inability to tolerate exercise; chest pain; dizziness; lower extremity edema; lightheadedness; and fainting.

Because of the complexity of diagnosing and treating HCM, University of Utah Health was the first in the state of Utah to develop a comprehensive program for evaluating and managing the disease. The program provides a in-depth evaluation by experts in cardiomyopathy, cardiac imaging, cardiac genetics, arrhythmia, interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery. This multidisciplinary approach allows physicians from different specialties to monitor HCM patients and develop individualized treatment plans.

University of Utah Health “We are extremely honored to be receiving this recognition,” said Omar Wever-Pinzon, MD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine at University of Utah Health and medical director for the program. “We hope to be able to advance further investigation and treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to better the lives of our patients. The new COE designation is extremely important for our patients, and extremely important for us. For us it's essential – not only is it a significant recognition – but it allows us to continue to provide the highest quality care to those patients we treat with this complex condition. We are also able to proactively screen and monitor family members, providing additional care, including emotional support.”

 All HCMA Centers of Excellence are required to provide the following services within their program or through a referral relationship:

  • Cardiologist as Director/Lead of the program
  • Adult and pediatric cardiac electrophysiology (including implanted cardiac devices)
  • Cardiac surgical services: surgical septal myectomy
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Pediatric cardiology
  • Advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation
  • Genetic counseling
  • High quality imaging– state of the art echocardiogram and cardiac MRI
  • Commitment to HCM research
  • The ability to see families and accommodate those traveling from a distance
  • The existence and continuity of institutional support to maintain all elements of a comprehensive HCM program

 “The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association is pleased to welcome University of Utah Health to our family of Center of Excellence programs. The HCMA has worked hard over the past 24 years to ensure HCM patients receive the highest quality care in high volume programs.  HCMA Recognized Centers of Excellence programs provide the most time and cost effective care when compared to those seeking care in the general cardiology community,” said Lisa Salberg, Founder and CEO.  “Patients and families benefit by having a team of highly skilled clinicians as well as the emotional support they need to manage living with a genetic heart condition that may impact many other members of the family as well.”

 About HCMA

The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, HCMA, was founded in 1996 as an international resource for patients, families and the medical community on matters of importance to the HCM community.   HCM is a genetic heart muscle disorder affecting 1 in 300 people worldwide.   The HCMA provides service to enhance understanding, provide support, foster research, ensure high quality health care and support public policies of importance to the community.  The HCMA is a 501c(3) with offices in Denville, NJ and online at for more information contact us at 973-983-7429.