Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment for left ventricular hypertrophy focuses on the underlying cause of the condition. Depending on the cause, treatment may involve medication or surgery.

Treating high blood pressure

Treatment for high blood pressure usually includes both medications and lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise; a low-sodium, low-fat diet; and no smoking.

In addition to lowering blood pressure, some high blood pressure drugs may prevent further enlargement of left ventricle muscle tissue and may even shrink your hypertrophic muscles. Blood pressure drugs that may reverse muscle growth include the following:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors widen, or dilate, blood vessels to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and decrease the workload on the heart. Examples include enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and captopril (Capoten).

    ACE inhibitors cause an irritating cough in some people. It may be best to put up with the cough, if you can, to gain the medication's benefits. Discuss this side effect with your doctor. Switching to another ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin II receptor blocker may help.

  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which include losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan), have many of the beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors, but they don't cause a persistent cough. They may be an alternative for people who can't tolerate ACE inhibitors.
  • Thiazide diuretics act on your kidneys to help your body eliminate sodium and water, thereby reducing blood volume.
  • Beta blockers slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and prevent some of the harmful effects of stress hormones. These drugs include atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Toprol XL) and bisoprolol (Zebeta).
  • Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessel walls. This lowers blood pressure. These drugs include amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor XR, Tiazac), nifedipine (Procardia) and verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Covera-HS).

Treating sleep apnea

If you've already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, treating this sleep disorder can help shrink left ventricular hypertrophy. If you haven't been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but your partner tells you that you snore or that you stop breathing momentarily while you sleep, talk with your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea. Treatment for sleep apnea involves using a machine that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) while you sleep. This keeps your airways open, allowing you to get the oxygen you need to keep your blood pressure at a normal level.

Aortic valve repair or replacement

If left ventricular hypertrophy is caused by aortic valve stenosis, you may have surgery to remove the narrow valve and replace it with either an artificial valve or a tissue valve from a pig, cow or deceased human donor. If you have aortic valve regurgitation, the leaky valve may be surgically repaired or replaced.

Cholesterol-lowering medications

Although they are not a treatment specifically for left ventricular hypertrophy, the cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins may help treat left ventricular hypertrophy. Clinical trials are currently being done to see if statins are a useful treatment for this disorder.

July 18, 2012

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