The configuration of the hypertrophied myocardium was evaluated by thallium-201 emission-computed tomography and 2-dimensional (2-D) sector scan in 10 patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HC), 10 with nonobstructive HC with giant negative T waves and 10 with concentric left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy. Thallium-201 myocardial imaging was reconstructed into multiple 12-mm-thick slices in 3 planes. The thickness ratio of the ventricular septum and the LV posterior wall in the short-axis plane and the ratio of the ventricular septum and the apical wall in the long-axis plane were analyzed. In the patients with obstructive HC the ventricular septal wall thickness index was increased, and the ratio of septal to posterior wall thickness index (1.45 +/- 0.23) was greater than that in the patients with nonobstructive HC with giant negative T waves or in those with concentric LV hypertrophy (1.03 +/- 0.20 and 0.98 +/- 0.11, respectively; p less than 0.01 for each). In the patients with nonobstructive HC with giant negative T waves, increased apical wall thickness with apical cavity obliteration was characteristic, and the ratio of ventricular septal to apical wall thickness index (0.66 +/- 0.14) was less than that in the patients with obstructive HC or in those with concentric LV hypertrophy (1.46 +/- 0.38 and 1.04 +/- 0.09, respectively; p less than 0.001 for each). In contrast, technically satisfactory 2-D sector scanning (83%) demonstrated various configurations of the hypertrophied ventricularseptum, but could not detect apical hypertrophy in 4 of the 10 patients with nonobstructive HC with giant negative T waves whose LV cineangiograms demonstrated apical hypertrophy. Thus, thallium-201 emission-computed tomography is useful in evaluating the characteristics of LV hypertrophy and assists 2-D sector scan, especially in patients with apical hypertrophy in HC.