Could You Meet the Hypertensive Heart Disease Diagnostic Criteria?

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HHD Diagnosis Overview

While some disorders and diseases may be easily diagnosed, this isn’t always the case when it comes to certain types of heart disease. Those that suffer from hypertensive heart disease, commonly referred to as HHD, may find that the diagnosis isn’t in all black and white. As a matter of fact, hypertensive heart disease diagnostic criteria are quite different from the diagnosing of various other heart and hypertension related conditions. Since many of the signs and symptoms, lab values and other tests can be similar among these patients, there are often special considerations that the health care client must meet to warrant such a diagnosis.

The Role of High Blood Pressure

One of the most important considerations when screening for HHD is always some form of hypertension. However, it is important that the patient understand that this does not necessarily apply to the onset and duration of the hypertension. In most cases, chronic high blood pressure is present, but it is possible for heart damage to occur in those that have experienced significantly elevated blood pressure levels within the previous six months. Therefore, hypertension at some point is among the defining characteristics of HHD.

Anatomical Changes of the Heart

Over time, high blood pressure that is ineffectively managed or left untreated altogether can lead to permanent changes in the heart. Although these changes may vary, depending on the severity of the disease, enlargement of the heart is frequently noted, especially within the left ventricle, leading to a condition known as LVH. Many physicians may rely on diagnostic testing such as an electrocardiogram, chest x-ray and procedures used to measure the flow and ejection of blood from the valves in the heart.

Abnormalities and States of Disease

Hypertensive heart disease diagnostic criteria are not strictly limited to the fore mentioned oddities. Heart enlargement and decreased functioning of the left ventricle may not become apparent until other signs and symptoms of HHD appear. However, other irregularities of the heart can also be used to detect and diagnose. This can include irregular heart beat that can be heard or abnormal waves on an EKG, for example. According to a study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a diagnosis of diastolic heart failure, (DHF), can almost always be used as a clinical indication of HHD.

Other Considerations

These are just some of the diagnostic criterion for hypertensive heart disease. The patient may still be diagnosed with this disorder, in the absence of some of these criteria. It is not uncommon for blood tests to be utilized in combination with other tests to help rule out or confirm such a diagnosis. This may include urine and blood screenings.


Hypertensive Heart Disease. The New York Times. Reviewed 3, September 2008. Viewed 15, October 2010.

Hypertensive Heart Disease: Differential Diagnoses and Workup. EMedicine. Updated 14, June 2010. Viewed 15, October 2010.