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'Physiological hypertrophy of the heart' is a misnomer

Author(s): Karel Rakusan* and Bohuslav Ostadal

The term ‘hypertrophy’ means an abnormal growth (eg, cardiac hypertrophy is understood as an abnormal growth of cardiac mass due to an increase in the size of myocytes). A second meaning of the term ‘physiological’ is, according to the dictionary, normal. Taking the above interpretations into consideration, we arrive at an amusing semantic incompatibility: cardiac physiological hypertrophy would mean ‘normal abnormal growth of the heart’. Authors who coined this term most likely intended to refer to cardiac hypertrophy achieved by physiological stimuli.

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