Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The human heart is like a sponge, able to expand and grow, increasing its capacity to take up blood. In theory, an enlarged heart can also squeeze out more blood, with more power, than an average-sized heart. But in reality, for most people, this growth—known as cardiac hypertrophy—is abnormal and signals trouble.

Cardiac hypertrophy is brought on by various factors, high pressure in particular. Existing treatments only delay the inevitable—that the spongy heart muscle becomes thicker and stiffer over time, culminating in , in which the heart can no longer contract strongly enough