Background - The clinical efficacy of alcohol septal ablation for drug-refractory hypertrophic cardiomyopathy remains unclear. This study examines the outcome of alcohol septal ablation performed at a tertiary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy referral center. Methods and Results - Among 601 patients with severely symptomatic obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy referred for alcohol septal ablation or myectomy from 1998 to 2006, 138 patients (median age, 64 years; 39% men) chose to undergo ablation. Procedural complications included death in 1.4%, sustained ventricular arrhythmias in 3%, tamponade in 3%, and pacemaker implantation in 20%. This rate was higher than a combined complication rate of 5% in age- and gender-matched patients who had undergone septal myectomy at Mayo Clinic (P<0.0001). Four-year survival free of all mortality was 88.0% (95% confidence interval, 79.4 to 97.5%), which was similar to that of the age- and gender-matched patients who had undergone myectomy (P=0.18). Six patients had documented ventricular arrhythmias after ablation, 4 of whom had successful intervention. Four-year survival free of death and severe New York Heart Association class III/IV symptoms after septal ablation was 76.4%, and 71 patients (51%) became asymptomatic. Myectomy patients ≤65 years of age had significantly better survival free of death and severe symptoms (P=0.01). Conclusions - Alcohol septal ablation is an efficacious procedure if performed in an experienced institution and may resolve symptoms in a subset of patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. However, the procedural complication rate exceeds that of myectomy. Patients ≤65 years of age have better symptom resolution with myectomy. No impairment in short-term survival was noted in this nonrandomized study, but the long-term outcome remains unknown.