DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ventricular hypertrophy. Gross specimen of a sectioned human heart showing left ventricular hypertrophy. The muscle wall of the left ventricle is extremely enlarged. Hypertrophy of the left ventricle may be associated with hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure). The heart muscle has to work harder to pump blood to the tissues, because arterial pressure is high. It compensates for the increased work by enlarging. Another cause is mitral incompetence, the failure of the mitral heart valve to control the one-way flow of blood into the left ventricle. Severe ventricular heart disease is associated with the term "heart failure", and carries a poor prognosis.
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