Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) means that the muscle of the heart's main pump (left ventricle) has become thick and enlarged. This can happen over time if the left ventricle has to work too hard. This part of the heart needs to be strong to pump oxygen-rich blood to your entire body. When the ventricle gets thick, other changes can happen in the heart. The heart's electrical system might not work normally, the heart muscle may not get enough oxygen, and the heart may not pump as well as it should.
LVH is linked to an increased risk of other problems, including heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and heart rhythm problems. Treatment can help reduce these risks.
It can be stressful to learn that you have a problem with your heart. But there are things you can do to feel better and help keep this condition from getting worse.
LVH is usually caused by high blood pressure. It may also be caused by a heart problem, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or a heart valve problem like aortic valve stenosis.
LVH may not cause symptoms. When it does, the most common ones are:
New or worse symptoms may be a sign of heart failure. Heart failure means that your heart doesn't pump as much blood as your body needs.
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you about any health problems you've had. You'll also be asked if any of your family members have or had heart disease or died suddenly from heart problems.
You may have tests such as an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram (EKG).
The best treatment will depend on what caused LVH. For many people, the focus will be on treating high blood pressure. Getting high blood pressure under control may keep LVH from getting worse. This can help prevent heart failure. It can also help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Medicines and lifestyle changes are used to treat high blood pressure. It may take some time to find the right medicine or medicines for you. Work with your doctor by taking your medicines as prescribed and going to all of your follow-up appointments.
If LVH was caused by a heart problem, you may have other treatment options. Treatment may help lower your risk of heart failure and other serious problems.
Healthy habits are important for your heart. Taking an active role in your treatment can help you feel better and protect your health.
Other Works ConsultedDrazner MH (2011). The progression of hypertensive heart disease. Circulation, 123(3): 327-334. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.845792. Accessed August 3, 2016.Ruilope LM, Schmieder RE (2008). Left ventricular hypertrophy and clinical outcomes in hypertensive patients. American Journal of Hypertension, 21(5): 500-508. DOI: 10.1038/ajh.2008.16. Accessed August 3, 2016.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2016
Current as of:
November 14, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017