Monday, April 11, 2011

Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is the enlargement of the left ventricle of the heart. It can develops in response to some factor, such as high blood pressure, that requires the left ventricle to work harder. As the workload increases, the myocardium (heart muscle) grow thicker, losing elasticity and eventually failing to pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Other causes of increased afterload that can cause left ventricular hypertrophy include aortic stenosis and aortic insufficiency. Primary disease of the muscle of the heart that cause left ventricular hypertrophy are known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathies, which can lead into heart failure.

The treatment of left ventricular hypertrophy depends on the cause. Hypertensive LVH is treated by controlling the blood pressure. Some antihypertensive drugs may cause LVH to regress but this is controversial. Athletic hypertrophy does not require treatment. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HOCM is a rare condition that should be followed by a cardiologist with expertise in this area. It may require medical or surgical management.