Left ventricular hypertrophy

Left ventricular hypertrophy is enlargement (hypertrophy) of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle).

Left ventricular hypertrophy develops in response to some factor, such as high blood pressure, that requires the left ventricle to work harder. As the workload increases, the walls of the chamber grow thicker, lose elasticity and eventually may fail to pump with as much force as that of a healthy heart.

Left ventricular hypertrophy is more common in people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure or other heart problems. Treating high blood pressure can help ease your symptoms and may reverse the left ventricular hypertrophy.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Left ventricular hypertrophy usually develops gradually. You may experience no signs or symptoms, especially during the early stages of the condition. As left ventricular hypertrophy progresses and complications develop, you may experience these left ventricular hypertrophy symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, often after exercising
  • Sensation of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats (palpitations)
  • Dizziness or fainting

When to see a doctor

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you feel chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes or have severe difficulty breathing. If you experience mild shortness of breath or other symptoms, such as palpitations, see your doctor.

If you have high blood pressure or another condition that increases your risk of left ventricular hypertrophy, talk to your doctor about regular appointments to monitor your heart. Even if you feel well, you need to have your blood pressure checked annually, or more often if you smoke, are overweight or have other conditions that increase the risk of high blood pressure.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use