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What determines left ventricular hypertrophy in patients with hypertension ?

Posted Dec 09 2008 3:40am

                                Hypertension is the most common clinical  cardiovascular entity.Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is  an important consequence of  HT.In fact, it is considered as a end organ effect or damage. Others being brain, kidney, and peripheral vascular disease.Knowing about LVH is important because it has been linked to increased cardiovascular events.

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                              Though LVH is considered  as a close companion of  HT  it is  surprising  only a minority (15-30%)  show evidence of LVH .Some  experienced clinicians (Level C evidence)  quote even lower < 10 %  .Traditionally LVH was detected by ECG and now it is replaced by echocardiography.

What determines the LVH ?

It will be suprising to note , answer to this question  is  still not  clear .

  • Is it the duration of elevated blood pressure ?
  •  Is it the absolute level of blood pressure ?
  • If so , is it  the systolic BP  , diastolic BP or the mean BP ?
  • Or is it related to the etiology of HT ?
  • There has been no significant correlation between the above parameters

When we don’t know  the answer to a question in medicine , the answer will  generally will be inside the genes !

So in HT also the major determinant of LVH is in the genes that determine the myosin heavy chain  response .

and also ACE gene polymorphism.ACE genes are involved in the expression of growth factors within the myocardium.

An excellent study  on the issue http://www.nature.com/jhh/journal/v17/n3/full/1001523a.html#tbl1

It implicates , gender, age, race etc in the genesis of LVH

Final message

So , the  myocardium does not respond with LVH   in all patients with HT.It happens only in a minority* .Duration of HT can be an important determinant , but  the major factor is  the alteration of genetic switches  within the myocytes How this switches are going to  behave ,  is largely inherited .Regression of LVH is also not uniform again implying lesser role for hemodynamics. (Some studies revealed ACEI have maximum regression  of LVH , later disputed )

*LVH is more consistently seen  in hypertension due to reno vascular  or parenchymal disorders .It is also an observed fact , a  combination of diabetes and HT is more likely to result in  LVH.

The other major issue  that needs explanation in HT/LVH  is   , how much of LVH is due to  myocyte hypertrophy perse  and how much is contributed by interstitial cell hypertrophy(Non myocytic hypertrophy)

This issue will be discussed soon

      
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