From left ventricular hypertrophy to congestive heart failure: management of hypertensive heart disease

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2006 Mar-Apr;48(5):326-41. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2006.02.001.


Other than age, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is the most potent predictor of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in the hypertensive population, and is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease, sudden death, heart failure and stroke. Although directly related to systolic blood pressure, other factors including age, sex, race, body mass index and stimulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and sympathetic nervous systems play an important role in the pathogenesis of LVH. LVH involves changes in myocardial tissue architecture consisting of perivascular and myocardial fibrosis and medial thickening of intramyocardial coronary arteries, in addition to myocyte hypertrophy. The physiologic alterations which occur as a result of these anatomical changes include disturbances of myocardial blood flow, the development of an arrhythmogenic myocardial substrate and diastolic dysfunction. The latter is directly related to the degree of myocardial fibrosis and is the hemodynamic hallmark of hypertensive heart disease. When diastolic dysfunction is present, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure increases out-of-proportion to volume and may be elevated at rest or with exertion leading to clinical heart failure. At least one third of heart failure patients in the United States can be considered to have heart failure related to diastolic dysfunction. Compared to heart failure patients with systolic dysfunction, diastolic heart failure patients are more likely to be older, female, and to be hypertensive at the time of presentation. Although it has been assumed that LVH may lead to systolic dysfunction, evidence is lacking that LVH resulting from hypertension is a major risk factor for systolic heart failure independent of coronary artery disease. Treatment of hypertension greatly attenuates the development of LVH and significantly decreases the incidence of heart failure. In patients with established LVH, regression is both possible and desirable and results in a significant reduction in adverse clinical endpoints.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / etiology
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents