This generally affects the left ventricle - called left ventricle hypertrophy (LVH)
Myocardial hypertrophy is when the walls of the heart's main pumping chamber (the left ventricle) become enlarged and thickened (hypertrophy) hence the term left ventricle hypertrophy (LVH).
Myocardial hypertrophy and left ventricle hypertrophy
This means your heart will not be pumping blood as efficiently as it’s supposed to. Ventricular hypertrophy can occur when there is too much pressure on heart to pump the blood, this may be down to conditions like high blood pressure and other heart conditions such as:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Enlarged aorta
- Athletic training
Having left ventricular hypertrophy does put you at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Are there symptoms?
The symptoms associated with left ventricular hypertrophy usually develop over a period of time and some patients may not even experience any. Some of the more common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain dizziness or fainting – especially after physical activities
- Heart palpitations
Certain risk factors like smoking, weight, age and family history are also associated with left ventricular hypertrophy.
- Remember if you are experiencing chest pain that lasts for more than a couple of minutes and are having difficulty breathing then you must call emergency services on 999.
How can it be diagnosed and treated?
- You will have an in-depth consultation with your doctor on family history, symptoms and your general health. If your doctor suspects you have left ventricular hypertrophy then he will want to refer you for tests to confirm.
- The best way to diagnose this condition is by having an ECG (electrocardiogram). An ECG will be able to use electrical signals and detect anything abnormal happening in your heart. Other diagnostic tests are echocardiogram and MRI scanning.
- Treatment for left ventricular hypertrophy can start from simple things like life-style changes right down to surgical intervention.
- Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, moderating salt and alcohol and undertaking regular exercise will help your overall health, especially if you have high blood pressure, this will ultimately improve ventricular hypertrophy signs.
- If your left ventricular hypertrophy is caused by high blood pressure then medication to help with high blood pressure and prevent further expansion of the left ventricle. Your doctor will choose the correct medication for your condition.
Aortic valve stenosis
- If LVH is caused by aortic valve stenosis, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the narrow valve with artificial or tissue valve.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy treatment
- If LVH is due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy then the options may range from medication, surgical intervention, lifestyle changes and implants.
- It all depends on the underlying cause and the symptoms you are experiencing.