Relation of echocardiographic left ventricular mass and hypertrophy to persistent electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy in hypertensive patients: the LIFE Study

P M Okin, R B Devereux, S Jern, S Julius, S E Kjeldsen, B Dahlöf
American Journal of Hypertension 2001, 14 (8 Pt 1): 775-82

BACKGROUND: The Losartan Intervention For Endpoint Reduction in Hypertension (LIFE) trial used left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) on a screening ECG to identify patients at high risk for morbid events. Because of regression to the mean, not all patients who met screening criteria had persistent ECG LVH on the ECG performed at study baseline.

METHODS: The relationship of echocardiographic LV mass and LVH to persistence or loss of ECG LVH between screening and baseline evaluation was examined in 906 hypertensive patients in the LIFE study, who had echocardiograms and additional ECG performed at study baseline. Patients were categorized according to the presence or absence of ECG LVH by Cornell voltage-duration product criteria or Sokolow-Lyon voltage criteria; echocardiographic LVH was defined by LV mass index (LVMI) > 104 g/m2 in women and > 116 g/m2 in men.

RESULTS: A total of 678 patients (75%) had persistent ECG LVH at baseline evaluation. Compared with the 228 patients without ECG LVH on the second ECG by either criterion, the 106 patients with LVH by both Cornell product and Sokolow-Lyon criteria had significantly higher LVMI (140+/-31 v 114+/-21 g/m2, P < .001) and a higher prevalence of echocardiographic LVH (86% v 55%, P < .001). Patients with ECG LVH on the baseline ECG by either Cornell product criteria (n = 410) or Sokolow-Lyon voltage criteria (n = 162) had intermediate values of LVMI (125+/-25 and 121+/-21 g/m2) and prevalences of echocardiographic LVH (78% and 62%). After controlling for possible effects of age, sex, ethnicity, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index, persistence of ECG LVH on the baseline ECG was associated with an increased risk of echocardiographic LVH: compared with patients with neither ECG criteria for LVH, patients with only Sokolow-Lyon voltage criteria had a 1.2-fold increased risk of echocardiographic LVH, those with only Cornell product criteria had a 2.7-fold increased risk, and patients with both ECG criteria had a 4.1-fold increased risk of echocardiographic LVH (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Persistent ECG LVH between screening and LIFE study baseline identified patients with greater LV mass and a higher prevalence of echocardiographic LVH, suggesting that these patients may be at higher risk for subsequent morbid and mortal events.

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