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Re: Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Posted By CCF CARDIO MD - CRC on July 16, 1998 at 17:59:36:

In Reply to: Left Ventricular Hypertrophy posted by Julia on July 16, 1998 at 13:44:55:

I was diagnosed with left ventricular hypertrophy one year ago.  It was found the day after I gave birth to my second child.  I live in a small town in a rural area and I'm not sure if I am being given the most current information.  
I was advised that since I have low blood pressure 116/66 yesterday--that medication was not in order.  I was told  I should lose weight (I am currently about 50-60 pounds overweight) and live a normal life.  I have not been able to get the weight off yet.  I have had a fairly stressful summer and hence have experienced chest pain which in turn brings on anxiety--and more chest pain.  Does stress aggravate the condition or just the symptoms?
To what extent should I worry about this?  What level of exercise is okay? I've been fairly active--but I'm not an athlete.  I'm trying to lose weight but now I'm afraid to exercise.  Do people live relatively long and normal lives with this condition?  
Also I've had dental work done--no mention was made of endocarditis by my physician--so no antibiotics were prescribed.  How would I know if I contracted a problem?  
As of now I have echocardiograms done once every six months.  There was no change in six months.   I go back in for another echo next week.  
I'm frightened that I won't live to see my children grow up.  Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Dear Julia,
Topic Area: Hypertrophy
Thank you for your question.  Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an enlargement of the left pumping chamber of the heart and may be due to several different things.  The most common cause is high blood pressure.   Other causes are due to exercise (athletic hypertrophy) and congenital (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HOCM).  
The diagnosis of LVH is usually made by echocardiogram.  The walls of the ventricle can be measured and a thickness of greater than 1.5 cm is considered enlarged.  Athletic hypertrophy is usually less than this thickness and will return to normal size with cessation of the activity.  HOCM may be diagnosed in the absence of other causes of LVH and with the presence of a family history.
The treatment of LVH 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.  HOCM is a rare condition that should be followed by a cardiologist with expertise in this area.  It may require medical or surgical management.
Long term prognosis of LVH is good.  There is an increased propensity to heart failure (see previous questions on heart failure) so a correct diagnosis and proper treatment is essential to decrease this risk.  Hope this helps.
Information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Only your doctor can provide specific diagnoses and treatments. If you would like to be seen at the Cleveland Clinic, please Call 1 - 800 - CCF - CARE for an appointment at Desk F15 with a cardiologist.

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