What is Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH)?

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), also known as an enlarged heart, is a condition in which the muscle wall of heart’s left pumping chamber (ventricle) becomes thickened (hypertrophy).

Other conditions, such as heart attack, valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy, can cause the heart (or the heart cavity) to get bigger. This is not the same as LVH.

What causes LVH?

The heart is a muscle. And so, like other muscles, it gets bigger if it is worked hard over time. Several health conditions cause your heart to work harder than normal. The most common cause of LVH is high blood pressure (hypertension). Other causes include athletic hypertrophy (a condition related to exercise), valve disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HOCM), and congenital heart disease.

What are the symptoms of LVH?

Some patients have no symptoms related to LVH. The condition usually develops over time, and most symptoms occur when the condition causes complications. The most common symptoms of LVH are:

  • Feeling short of breath
  • Chest pain, especially after activity
  • Feeling dizzy or fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat, or a pounding or fluttering sensation in your chest

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