Ventricular Wall Thickness
Thin walls – if the heart muscle is found to be abnormally thin in places, this usually suggests the presence of scar. A scar in the heart can be caused by a number of disease process, such as a previous heart attack or severe infection, and can be a hallmark of certain heart muscle diseases (i.e. a form of cardiomyopathy).
Thick walls – if the heart is forced to pump against increased resistance (such as in cases of high blood pressure or a narrow aortic valve) then, over time, the whole muscle may become thicker to compensate. Global thickening of the muscle is known as ‘concentric hypertrophy’; the management of this involves identification and treatment of the underlying cause. If only a specific area of the heart muscle is thickened (for example ‘asymmetrical septal hypertrophy’), this can suggest a heart muscle disease – namely hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – which will require specialist follow-up.