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Routine orthostatic LVOT gradient assessment in patients with basal septal hypertrophy and LVOT flow acceleration at rest: please stand up


A 70-year-old female with exertional dyspnoea was found to have basal septal hypertrophy (BSH), or a ‘basal septal bulge’, with evidence of mild left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (LVOT) at rest on her initial echocardiogram. She was usually fit and well with no significant past medical history. She had no history of hypertension. She had never smoked. There was no family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). A cardiac MRI did not demonstrate any typical features of HCM. ECG showed sinus tachycardia with a rate of 101 bpm but was otherwise unremarkable. She was referred for exercise echocardiography to assess for latent LVOT obstruction. Prior to commencing exercise, her LVOT gradient was re-assessed at rest. Her LVOT gradients were 30 mmHg at rest, 49 mmHg during Valsalva and 91 mmHg on standing. A diagnosis of significant latent LVOT obstruction was made and the patient was started on bisoprolol, a cardioselective beta-blocker. Bisoprolol was slowly uptitrated from 1.25 mg to 5 mg once daily, following which the patient reported a significant improvement in her symptoms with an improved exercise capacity. Follow-up echocardiography demonstrated a dramatic reduction in LVOT gradient, with a maximum of 11 mmHg assessed both with Valsalva and on standing. This case is a reminder that patients with a ‘common’ basal septal bulge can develop significant LVOT obstruction, the symptoms of which may respond to pharmacological therapy. Orthostatic assessment of LVOT gradient using echocardiography should be considered during standard LVOT obstruction provocation manoeuvres such as a Valsalva.


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Correspondence to H. C. Sinclair BSc MRCP.

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Sinclair, H.C., Russhard, P., Critoph, C.H. et al. Routine orthostatic LVOT gradient assessment in patients with basal septal hypertrophy and LVOT flow acceleration at rest: please stand up. Echo Res Pract 6, K1–K6 (2019).

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Key Words

  • basal septal hypertrophy
  • orthostatic LVOT assessment
  • latent LVOT obstruction
  • provocable gradient