Inter-relationship between electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy and QT prolongation as predictors of increased risk of mortality in the general population

Elsayed Z Soliman, Amit J Shah, Andrew Boerkircher, Yabing Li, Pentti M Rautaharju
Circulation. Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology 2014, 7 (3): 400-6

BACKGROUND: Prolonged-QT commonly coexists in the ECG with left ventricular hypertrophy (ECG-LVH). However, it is unclear whether to what extent QT prolongation coexisting with ECG-LVH can explain the prognostic significance of ECG-LVH, and whether prolonged-QT coexisting with ECG-LVH should be considered as an innocent consequence of ECG-LVH.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The study population consisted of 7506 participants (mean age, 59.4±13.3 years; 49% whites; and 47% men) from the US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. ECG-LVH was defined by Cornell voltage criteria. Prolonged heart-rate-adjusted QT (prolonged-QTa) was defined as QTa≥460 ms in women or 450 ms in men. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to calculate the hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals for the risk of all-cause mortality for various combinations of ECG-LVH and prolonged-QTa. ECG-LVH was present in 4.2% (N=312) of the participants, of whom 16.4% had prolonged-QTa. In a multivariable-adjusted model and compared with the group without ECG-LVH or prolonged-QTa, mortality risk was highest in the group with concomitant ECG-LVH and prolonged-QTa (hazard ratio, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-2.36), followed by isolated ECG-LVH (1.48; 1.24-1.77), and then isolated prolonged-QTa (1.27; 1.12-1.46). In models with similar adjustment where ECG-LVH and prolonged-QTa were entered as 2 separate variables and subsequently additionally adjusted for each other, the mortality risk was essentially unchanged for both variables.

CONCLUSIONS: Although prolonged-QT commonly coexists with LVH, both are independent markers of poor prognosis. Concomitant presence of prolonged-QT and ECG-LVH carries a higher risk than either predictor alone.

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