After getting a copy of an EKG graph from the doctors today I noticed that it says, "Possible left ventricular hypertrophy on non-voltage basis." Is this normal for runners and/or something to worry about?
Ventricular hypertrophy is the increase in size of the ventricles of the heart. Changes can be beneficial or healthy if they occur in response to aerobic or anaerobic exercise, but ventricular hypertrophy is generally associated with pathological changes due to high blood pressure or other disease states. - wikipedia
So, it could be either good or bad. My guess is that since you are a runner it is considered to be good.
I had the same thing after I spent a night in the ER for a sudden headache. they did an EKG that showed the same thing as you, then they did blood work to see if I had had a mild heart attack (I was 26 and have been a runner since age 13). They found nothing.
I folloed up with my doctor and he set me up to have an echo done. The echo showed nothing bad at all.
I think that the enlargement of the venticles due to running makes the electrical impulse take a bit longer becasue it has a greater distance to travel, so the EKG looks abnormal when compared to an untrained person. Get the echo done just to be sure, but it's probably nothing.
Any exercise physiologist who has taken a heart physiology course in the last 10 years (that would be me) has this concept drilled into them.
Left ventricular hypertropy can be good or bad.
The left ventricle functions fills with oxygenated blood and the drives this blood through the body. Therefore, it does a lot of work. This causes the walls surrounding the ventricle to grow and strengthen ... better known as hypertrophy. When you do lots of arm curls your biceps hypertrophy (the opposite of atrophy.)
If this work is a consequence of a narrowing of the arteries, poor fitness, poor elasticity in the arteries, etc then LVH is a bad thing.
If this work is a consequence of running 90 miles a week, competing in the Tour de France or swimming 10,000 yards a day then LVH is a good thing.
Medical doctors in the 80's misdiagnosed a lot of heart problems because the exercise boom created, for the first time, EKG's which produced LVH born from positive behaviors.
Your current doctor should have known better. If I were you I'd find a new doctor.
I agree with your above post. Many situations involve LVH that are not detrimental and in fact are a representation of healthy anatomy.
However, I can only assume that you are not involved in the health care industry. The most common cause of sudden cardiac death in his stated age group (20's) is Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. Any physician who notices a hypertrophic left ventricle (if on an athlete or not is not important) and chooses to not follow it up with an echo is practicing poor modern medicine.
I do not advocate screening for this at all. However, when something like this is noted and put into a chart and you choose to not follow it up and he dies from HOCM next week you no longer have a license my friend. Like it or not this is our modern world of medicine. There is no turning back. Plus an echo is a quick, non-invasive, no side effect test that provides a lot of information. There really is no downfall except for cost. I do however realize that cost should play a roll in screening and assessing something that is likely benign.
Other physicians out there are welcome to chime in.
Same thing happened to me. I had an EKG and doc wrote "LVH by voltage." He sent for an echo cardiogram and it was "normal."