Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is a condition in which the lower-left chamber of the heart (left ventricle) grows abnormally thick. This may happen in response to an underlying condition that causes an abnormal strain on the heart’s main pumping chamber. LVH is frequently seen with PKD. It is the leading cause of death for PKD'rs. Our kidneys sometimes lose functioning but it is the heart, LVH that kills us. It can happen at any age
but might be seen in males first in their early 40's. It can be diagnosed
with a chest x-ray, MRI, 2D echo, or EKG of the heart. The 2D echo
looks specifically at heart muscle and how it contracts.
This is one way that LVH may begin. PKD'rs with good blood pressure
control, in the absence of any other underlying illnesses, may
never see LVH manifest. Most commonly, the underlying condition that contributes to LVH formation is high blood pressure, and the resulting LVH can often be controlled or even improved with blood pressure medication (antihypertensives).