Hypertrophy is a medical term which means excessive growth, from hyper- “over, exceedingly, to excess” + -trophy “nourishment”. The hypertrophy of an organ like the heart is a phenomenon that occurs quite frequently. In the normal state, the thickness of its walls is 2 to 3 mm. If this value increases, it is possible to talk about the development of hypertrophy.
Depending on how the structure of the heart is altered, there are different types of hypertrophy: concentric and eccentric. When the first case occurs, the walls of the heart become thicker, but the volume of the ventricles and auricles decrease. The second type is characterized by the enlargement of the heart cavities.
The reasons for the development of this disease can be congenital or acquired. The causes of right ventricular hypertrophy may be associated with respiratory diseases (asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis, emphysema). Another factor can be a congenital heart defect.
What Are The Effects Of Right Ventricular Hypertrophy?
In the early stages of the disease it can be asymptomatic (the patient does not have any symptoms/effects). Hypertrophy of the right ventricle of the heart may be accompanied by dizziness, loss of balance, pain is felt in the chest area, breathing becomes difficult (dyspnea), and there is often swelling of the legs. Signs of right ventricular hypertrophy in children are as follows: the skin becomes bluish tint; this is especially noticeable when the baby cries.
Hypertrophy in Newborn
Very often right ventricular hypertrophy occurs in newborns as a result of problems with the development and functionality of the heart. This condition develops in the first days of life, when the load on the body is particularly high (especially in the right half of it).
A defect in the septum that separates the ventricles also develops. In this case the blood is mixed, it becomes insufficiently oxygenated blood. The heart, trying to restore normal blood flow, increases the load on the right ventricle. Hypertrophy is also possible due to the tetralogy of Fallot, whose ventricular septal defect and obstruction from the right ventricle to the lungs (pulmonary stenosis) are the most relevant features. Besides, the aorta (the major heart artery) lies directly over the ventricular septal defect, so the right ventricle develops thickened muscle.
If you find any symptoms that indicate a malfunction of the heart, you should immediately look to the specialist in children.
Diagnosis of Right Ventricular Hypertrophy
When the aforementioned symptoms are detected, it is vital to consult your doctor. In the initial examination the expert can listen to a “heart murmur.” Those patients associated with heavy loads, have bad habits, as well as athletes are particularly at risk. The inheritance is also important.
There are several useful tests to confirm the diagnosis of right ventricular hypertrophy; an echocardiography provides reliable information about the state of the heart. A mild right ventricular hypertrophy in the ECG (electrocardiogram) does not represent significant changes. However, it is worth mentioning that right ventricular hypertrophy in the electrocardiogram is noticeable when there are relatively big changes.
The treatment of right ventricular hypertrophy condition is mainly aimed at addressing the causes of its appearance. In this case, the person must get back to normal weight, get rid of bad habits, and practice moderate exercise. If the cause of hypertrophy is mainly related to respiratory diseases, the therapy is aimed at the elimination of inflammatory processes, such as an adequate treatment of bronchitis. Thus, doctors improve the metabolic processes that occur in the heart muscle.
When there are severe heart defects, manifested as right ventricle hypertrophy, a surgical treatment may be necessary.
Surgery is also indicated in the progression of the right ventricular hypertrophy, such as a significant deterioration of the heart, which affect directly to the supply of oxygen.
Any irregularity in the functioning of the heart because of right ventricular hypertrophy can give origin to serious consequences, since it is the organ that provides our body with oxygen. In this pathology, there is a heavier load in the right ventricle. Subsequently, in the aforementioned cases, the heart can no longer cope with a heavy overload.
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