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J Hypertens Suppl. 1998 Jan;16(1):S53-8.

Left ventricular hypertrophy: how to influence an important risk factor in hypertension.

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Cattedra Semeiotica e Metodologia Medica, Universit√° di Brescia, Italy.



Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is a powerful predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, independent from blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors. Available data indicate that patients who fail to achieve a reduction in LVH are much more likely to suffer cardiovascular events than those in whom LVH is reduced or even normalized using antihypertensive treatment. Reversal of LVH, therefore, represents a major goal in the treatment of hypertensive patients.


Since obesity and dietary sodium intake may modulate the degree of LVH, non-pharmacological intervention has achieved a successful reduction in left ventricular mass (LVM). LVM is more closely related to 24-h blood pressure values than to clinical blood pressure values. Recent evidence from the Study on Ambulatory Monitoring of Blood Pressure and Lisinopril Evaluation has shown that the regression of cardiac hypertrophy is predicted to a greater degree by the effect of antihypertensive treatment on 24-h average blood pressure than by that on clinic or home blood pressure. The increase in blood pressure variability may also be an independent determinant of cardiovascular target-organ damage, particularly of cardiac hypertrophy. However, the effects of antihypertensive drugs on blood pressure variability can be difficult to determine, mainly because a correct measurement of variability requires a beat-to-beat measurement of ambulatory blood pressure; several measures have been proposed to evaluate the smoothness of blood pressure control during antihypertensive treatment. Other important determinants of LVH reduction are represented by baseline values of LVM, extent of blood pressure reduction and duration of treatment. Furthermore, the degree of cardiac hypertrophy reduction is not the same for the different classes of antihypertensive drugs because, beyond the control of blood pressure, they may interfere differently with several non-haemodynamic stimuli, including the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and the adrenergic systems or other growth factors. A more pronounced reduction in LVM with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and calcium antagonists has been demonstrated in several recent meta-analyses. The results of further multicenter on-going trials are awaited to evaluate definitely whether various antihypertensive strategies differ in their ability to reverse LVH and to adequately assess the relationship between changes in LVM and subsequent prognosis, with serial control of blood pressure values measured in the clinic and by ambulatory monitoring.

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