Can Left Ventricular Hypertrophy Cause Death?

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) can cause death. When the left ventricle muscle is thick, it loses its elasticity and left ventricle enlarges. Because of this, there will be obstruction to the blood flow and the blood pumping. This can cause reduce heart output and reduce amount of blood supplied to the heart causing death of the heart muscle, which is a heart attack. After the heart attack the dead muscle cells are replaced by fibrosis (scar formation). This scarred muscle cells do not work properly like the healthy heart muscles. If the cause of left ventricular hypertrophy is not treated and if there too much workload on the heart the left ventricle will fail this leads to left heart failure. Left heart failure can happen suddenly (acute) or taking sometime (chronic). Heart failure leads to death.

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Left ventricular hypertrophy patients can go into sudden cardiac death (SCD) as well. Sudden cardiac death is defined as natural death due to cardiac causes, heralded by abrupt loss of consciousness within one hour of the onset of symptoms; preexisting heart disease may have been known to be present, but the time and mode of death are unexpected. The cause of sudden cardiac death is arrhythmias (rhythm abnormities in the heart).

Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses that coordinates your heartbeats do not work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. There are many types of arrhythmias some are not harmful some are really dangerous and can even cause death.

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Let’s see how each cause can leads to heart failure and death or can give rise to sudden cardiac death.

Hypertension

Hypertension is the commonest cause of left ventricular hypertrophy and it’s an adaptation to the chronic workload (after load pressure) of hypertension. This changes the heart structure and function and this will lead heart attack and the heart failure and death. In the other hand left ventricular hypertrophy due to hypertension also changes the normal rhythm of your heart causing arrhythmias (ventricular tachycardia). In left ventricular hypertrophy the size of the cardiac muscle increase, but the number of cardiac muscle cells remain the same, which leads to fibrosis, cellular abnormalities, cardiac remodeling and this can cause ventricular arrhythmias. These can cause sudden cardiac death. So, you really need to control your blood pressure with medicine and follow up in the clinics to check pressure.

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Aortic Stenosis

If you have symptoms of aortic stenosis you are at high risk of having a sudden cardiac death. Symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, tiredness, palpitations, and chest pain are seen. You should not wait to do surgery if you have the above symptoms. Also if you have any other hear conditions like previous heart attacks the risks of sudden cardiac death increase. If you are a asymptomatic patient with Aortic Stenosis you are at a low risk of getting sudden death. However, you should avoid strenuous exercises to be on the safe side.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) sometimes goes undiagnosed if the muscle wall is not that thick to cause symptoms and these people can live a normal life most of the time if any other heart disease does not occur. If you are symptomatic and diagnosed with HCM you have a chance of going into sudden death. The main factors deciding whether you can go into sudden death or not is the thickness of the left ventricle. If the thickness is (< 19 mm) the risk is low. If the left ventricle wall is very thick (>30 mm) then higher is the chance of going into sudden cardiac death and this increases the risk of getting abnormal heart rhythms which can be fatal.

There are several other factors which increase the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy as well

  • Previous aborted cardiac arrest (the heart stopped and then restarted)
  • One or more episodes of ventricular arrhythmia
  • Family history of sudden death in two or more young family members.

Conclusion

Left ventricular hypertrophy causes death. Because of left ventricular hypertrophy heart will not function properly this leads to decrease blood supply to the heart causing a heart attack and then heart failure and if it continues then death. Also left ventricular hypertrophy increase the risk of having abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Ventricular arrhythmia are usually fatal and can cause sudden cardiac death.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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