Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH): Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments | MedStar Health

Thickening of the muscle of your left ventricle

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) develops in response to certain medical conditions that can cause the left ventricle (the lower left chamber of the heart responsible for pumping blood to the body) to work harder than normal. Just like other muscles in your body, when the heart muscle works harder, it gets bigger.

An enlarged heart muscle can become stiffer, making it difficult to pump with as much force as necessary. This can put you at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.

What causes left ventricular hypertrophy?

Some conditions that can cause LVH include:

What are the symptoms of LVH?

As the condition progresses and the heart muscle becomes stiffer, you may experience:

Tests

Diagnosing left ventricular hypertrophy is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Your doctor may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Cardiac catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Stress tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Treatments

Our heart and vascular teams work together and with other specialties to develop and implement individualized plans to treat LVH and any underlying conditions that are causing your heart to be overworked. Your treatment plan could include lifestyle modifications, medication, or more advanced treatments.

Heart surgery

Heart surgery is an option to treat many heart conditions. You may need heart surgery either as a lifesaving procedure or when other treatments haven’t worked.

Ask MHVI

Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.