Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetically heterogeneous disease in which one of the most frequently implicated gene is the gene encoding the beta-myosin heavy chain. To date, more than 40 distinct mutations have been found within this gene. In order to progress on the determination of genotype-phenotype relationship, we have screened the beta-myosin heavy chain gene for mutations in 18 probands from unrelated families. We identified the mutation implicated in the disease in four families. Two of them, the Glu930 codon deletion and the Ile263Thr mutation, are reported here for the first time. The two other mutations are the Arg723Cys mutation, that was previously described in a proband as a de novo mutation, and the Arg719Trp mutation. A poor prognosis was associated with the Glu930codon deletion (mean maximal wall thickness (MWT) = 19.5 mm +/- 5) and the Arg719Trp mutation (mean MWT = 15.3 mm +/- 7), whereas a good prognosis was associated with the Arg723Cys mutation (mean MWT = 20.1 mm +/- 7). The combination of clinical and genetic characteristics of each family member suggests that prognosis is related neither to the degree of left ventricular wall thickness nor to a change in the net electrical charge of the protein. Additional family studies are needed to confirm these findings and to contribute to stratify the prognosis according to the mutation involved.