Hypertensive left ventricular hypertrophy risk: beyond adaptive cardiomyocytic hypertrophy


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Abstract

The heart is a remarkably adaptive organ, capable of increasing its minute output and overcoming short-term or prolonged pressure overload. The structural response, in addition to the foregoing functional demands, is that of myocardial hypertrophy. Then, why should an adaptive response increase cardiovascular risk in hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH)? Evidence shows that the functional performance of hypertrophied cardiomyocytes is impaired, and that additional alterations develop in cardiomyocytes themselves, the extracellular matrix and the intramyocardial vasculature, leading to myocardial remodelling and providing the basis for the adverse prognosis associated with pathological LVH in hypertensive patients (i.e., hypertensive heart disease, HHD). As molecular information accumulates, the pathophysiological understanding and the clinical approach to HHD are changing. The time has come to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies aimed at improving the prognosis of HHD on the basis of reversing or even preventing the aforementioned changes in the ventricular myocardium.

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