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We compared the effects of weight reduction, metoprolol, and placebo on M-mode echocardiographic measurements of the thickness and mass of the left ventricular wall in a 21-week, randomized controlled trial that enrolled 41 young, overweight patients with hypertension. At the end of the follow-up period, the patients in the weight-reduction group had lost an average of 8.3 kg, and their blood pressure had decreased by an average of 14/13 mm Hg, as compared with 12/8 mm Hg in the metoprolol group and 9/4 mm Hg in the placebo group. In the weight-reduction group, interventricular septal and posterior-wall thickness decreased by 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively, and left ventricular mass decreased by 20 percent (16 percent when adjusted for body-surface area). Decreases in interventricular septal and posterior-wall thickness and in left ventricular mass in the weight-reduction group were significantly greater than those in the placebo group. The changes in thickness of the inter-ventricular septum and the left ventricular mass in the weight-reduction group were also greater than those in the metoprolol group. Changes in weight, independent of changes in blood pressure, were directly associated with changes in left ventricular mass. We conclude that weight reduction decreases left ventricular mass in overweight hypertensive patients and that control of obesity is important not only for the treatment of hypertension but also for the prevention of left ventricular hypertrophy. (N Engl J Med 1986; 314:334–9.), LEFT ventricular hypertrophy is a serious complication of a sustained elevation of blood pressure. In the Framingham Study, left ventricular hypertrophy, identified by electrocardiography, was associated with a risk of death from cardiovascular disease that was twice as high as the risk associated with hypertension alone.1 Recent work has indicated that increased total left ventricular mass, as measured by echocardiography, is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events in patients with hypertension.2 For this reason, reports of reductions in left ventricular wall thickness and left ventricular mass after treatment with antihypertensive drugs3456789101112 are of great interest, although the…. © 1986, Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


New England Journal of Medicine

Publication Date





334 - 339