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Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Hypertension | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated whether high blood pressure (hypertension) causes thickening of the right chamber of the heart, responsible for pumping blood to the lungs – a condition known as right ventricular hypertrophy.  

Some background

Hypertension is a common medical condition where pressure in the blood vessels is too high. Uncontrolled high blood pressure causes the heart to have to work harder in order to pump blood against the pressure in the arteries. This added workload on the heart can cause the walls of the heart to thicken.

The thickened heart looses elasticity and become stiff, making it work poorly. It can also compress its own blood vessels (coronary arteries) and may restrict its own blood flow. Over time, the overworked muscle weakens and can lead to abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), interruption of blood supply to the heart (heart attack), or sudden loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness (cardiac arrest).  

Hypertension is usually associated with thickening of the left chamber (ventricle), the part of the heart that pumps blood around the body. However, the right chamber, responsible for pumping blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, has receieved less attention among hypertensive patients but may be very important when diagnosing and treating hypertension.

Methods & findings

This study investigated whether hypertension causes right ventricular hypertrophy, as well as left. The study researched past experiments that investigated left and right hypertrophy in hypertensive patients. A total of 13 studies, including 1,290 participants with or without hypertension, were included.

It was found that on average 28.6% of people with hypertension had thicker right ventricular walls and 30.6% had thicker left ventricular walls, compared to individuals without hypertension. These values varied between studies from 17-80% for right ventricular hypertrophy and 9-100% for left ventricular hypertrophy. The right ventricular wall in hypertensive patients was, on average, 1.3 mm thicker than those without hypertension. 

The bottom line

The study concluded that both right and left ventricular hypertrophy commonly occur as a result of hypertension. 

The fine print

The study only carried out a review of different past experiments that contained small population sizes and different protocols and so may account for why the results are highly variable. 

What’s next?

If you or someone you know have high blood pressure, talk to a doctor about receiving a scan to measure ventricular hypertrophy which may help provide you with better diagnosis, prognosis (the stage of the disease and how it is likely to develop), and treatment.

Published By :

Journal of hypertension

Date :

May 01, 2013

Original Title :

Right ventricular hypertrophy in systemic hypertension: an updated review of clinical studies.

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