, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 449-457

Hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, and sudden death

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Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), a form of end-organ damage in hypertension, is associated with increased incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD). This review explores the possible mechanisms behind this phenomenon. SCD in LVH could be thrombotic/ischemic or arrhythmic (eg, myocardial ischemia, even in the absence of significant coronary artery disease, may be one important factor). Abnormalities of flow-mediated dilatation, endothelial function, and a hypercoagulable state are well-observed abnormalities in association with hypertension and LVH, although their precise contributory role is as yet undefined in the pathogenesis of sudden death. Electrophysiologic abnormalities are also well documented in LVH, and such patients are more predisposed to arrhythmias. In the past decade, many studies have investigated the regression of LVH, and recent studies are addressing whether the latter translates into a prognostic benefit.