Medical Q&As

Ventricular hypertrophy - what does it mean?

Iím a 38-year-old male, not overweight and Iím of average fitness. Iíve had tightness and pain in my chest for the last 2 weeks and I have noticed my heart pounding with palpitations. I went to my doctor and had a chest x-ray and stress ECG. The results showed LV Hypertrophy. My doctor said this was common in a fit young person. I also had blood tests that were fine. I was still worried so I went to the casualty department of the local hospital and had a standard ECG, bloods, and another chest x-ray and told the doctor about the LVH. He said that my ECG was borderline LVH, which was normal and that my bloods and x-ray were fine. I still have the pain and tightness so Iím still worried. What should I do? Am I being over anxious?

LVH stands for left ventricular hypertrophy, which means that the muscle mass in the left ventricle or main pumping chamber of your heart has thickened. This usually occurs in fit healthy people and can be regarded as the heart muscle equivalent of strong pectoral and biceps muscles that are developed through weight training. In other words the increased mass in the cardiac muscle is a sign of fitness and is the result of healthy training and not pathology. LVH is detectable on a standard and exercise ECG. You have been assessed appropriately by your GP and these findings have been corroborated at the hospital but you do not yet have a satisfactory explanation for your pain. I think that you should talk to your GP in order to have this pain explained. It is quite possible that this pain is coming from the muscles, ligaments or joints in your chest wall. This is commonly referred to as musculoskeletal pain and is generally regarded as being a troublesome nuisance but not serious. You probably are anxious and this may be contributing to some of the tightness that you are experiencing in your chest. But then you are entitled to be anxious because most of us are aware of the possible significance of chest pain and tightness. You probably wonít feel fully at ease until this matter has been explained to you. You know what you donít have i.e. an abnormal heart, but you still donít have a proper explanation for your pain.