Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Left ventricular hypertrophy is a pathological condition in which the left ventricle which is the wall of the main heart pumping cavity becomes thick.

Left ventricular hypertrophy tends to develop as a result of certain factors like hypertension or an indwelling cardiac condition which puts pressure on the left ventricle to work that much harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. Due to this pressure being exerted, there is thickening of the walls of the left ventricle and in some cases there is an increase in the size of the cavity itself. The dilated heart muscle loses elasticity and, finally, can stop pumping with the necessary force.

Left ventricular hypertrophy is seen more in individuals with uncontrolled hypertension. But regardless of patient´s blood pressure, the onset of left ventricular hypertrophy predisposes to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

The treatment of high blood pressure can help relieve the patient´s symptoms and can reverse left ventricular hypertrophy.

Left ventricular hypertrophy appears gradually. The patient may remain asymptomatic (absence of signs or symptoms), especially during the initial stages of the disease.

As left ventricular hypertrophy progresses, the patient may have: shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain (often after exercise), a sensation of the heart beating rapidly (palpitations), dizziness or fainting.

What Is The Prognosis For Left Ventricular Hypertrophy?

What Is The Prognosis For Left Ventricular Hypertrophy?

The prognosis for left ventricular hypertrophy mainly depends on how effectively you can control your blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is the main predisposing factor for developing left ventricular hypertrophy, it is vital to take some preventing measures, such as losing some weight in case of obesity, for this it is necessary to exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet, limiting salt. By maintaining a normal blood pressure, this disease will be avoided and prognosis will be better.

Left ventricular hypertrophy takes place when some factor causes the heart to work harder than normal to supply blood to the body. The factors that can cause the heart to make a greater effort are the following:

-High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): This is the most frequent cause of the pathology.

-Aortic Valve Stenosis: In this condition, there is narrowing of the aortic valve which is a tissue separating left ventricle from aorta. The shortening of the aortic valve needs that the left ventricle exerts more effort to pump blood to the aorta.

-Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This genetic disease happens when the heart muscle thickens abnormally, even in the presence of a normal blood pressure, which makes more difficult for the heart to pump blood.

-Athletic Training: Intense and prolonged resistance and strength training can make the heart to accustom to the extra load.

Complications of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Left ventricular hypertrophy has the ability to change the structure and functioning of the heart. The dilated left ventricle can weaken, harden and lose elasticity, which results in the cavity not being completely filled thereby increasing pressure on the heart, also compress the blood vessels of the cavity (coronary arteries) and restrain their blood supply.

As a consequence of these changes, complications develop due to left ventricular hypertrophy and may include:

  • -A decrease of the blood supply to the heart.
  • -Heart is not able to efficiently pump adequate blood to other parts of the body, a condition called heart failure.
  • -Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
  • -Irregular and usually rapid heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) that reduces blood flow to the body.
  • -Insufficient oxygen supply to the heart (ischemic heart disease).
  • -Dilation of a section of the aorta (dilation of the aortic root).
  • -Stroke.
  • -Sudden and abrupt loss of heart function, breathing and awareness (sudden cardiac arrest).

For left ventricular hypertrophy diagnosis, the doctor will check your medical history, family history and perform a physical examination, which includes, among other things, measuring your blood pressure and evaluating how your heart works.

Afterwards, the doctor can recommend some tests such as the following:

-Electrocardiogram (ECG): This test records the electrical signals as they move through the heart. The doctor may look for patterns that indicate pathological heart function and increment in left ventricular muscle tissue.

-Echocardiogram: Sound waves produce real-time images of the heart. The echocardiogram allows detecting the thickening of the left ventricular muscle tissue, observing the blood flow through the heart with each beat and discovering heart irregularities related to this pathology, such as aortic valve stenosis.

-Magnetic Resonance (MR): The images of the heart obtained in this test are useful for the diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 2, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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