Dear Dr. Roach: What is the difference between eccentric LVH and concentric LVH? Which one is more dangerous and needs more attention? My mother was diagnosed with severe eccentric LVH for body surface area with adequate systolic and diastolic functions. What does that mean? C.F.
Answer: The left ventricle is the chamber of the heart that pumps blood to the entire body, except for through the lungs; that is the job of the right ventricle. When the job is too hard, usually because of high blood pressure, the left ventricle hypertrophies, meaning its walls get thicker as a response to the increased workload. That hypertrophy can be symmetrical (concentric) or asymmetrical (eccentric). Early on, the left ventricle can still do its two jobs despite the hypertrophy: It can push out all the blood the body needs (thats the systolic function), and relax under low pressure (thats the diastolic function). Your mother has adequate systolic and diastolic function, so she is not in heart failure at this time.