Cardiac hypertrophy is an important risk factor for cardiac morbidity and mortality. To unravel the underlying pathogenic genetic pathways, we hybridized left ventricular RNA from Transverse Aortic Constriction mice at 48 h, 1 week, and 2, 3, and 8 weeks after surgery to microarrays containing a 15K fetal cDNA collection. Key processes involved an early restriction in the expression of metabolic genes, accompanied by increased expression of genes related to growth and reactivation of fetal genes. Most of these genes returned to basal expression levels during the later, compensated hypertrophic phase. Our findings suggest that compensated hypertrophy in these mice is established by rapid adaptation of the heart at the cost of gene expression associated with metabolic activity, with only temporary expression of possible maladaptive processes. Therefore, the transient early changes may reflect a beneficial response to pressure overload, as deterioration of cardiac hemodynamic function or heart failure does not occur.