Regression of electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy or strain is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients independent of blood pressure reduction - A LIFE review

Casper N Bang, Richard B Devereux, Peter M Okin
Journal of Electrocardiology 2014, 47 (5): 630-5
Cornell product criteria, Sokolow-Lyon voltage criteria and electrocardiographic (ECG) strain (secondary ST-T abnormalities) are markers for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and adverse prognosis in population studies. However, the relationship of regression of ECG LVH and strain during antihypertensive therapy to cardiovascular (CV) risk was unclear before the Losartan Intervention for Endpoint Reduction in Hypertension (LIFE) study. We reviewed findings on ECG LVH regression and strain over time in 9193 hypertensive patients with ECG LVH at baseline enrolled in the LIFE study. The composite endpoint of CV death, nonfatal MI, or stroke occurred in 1096 patients during 4.8±0.9years follow-up. In Cox multivariable models adjusting for randomized treatment, known risk factors including in-treatment blood pressure, and for severity ECG LVH by Cornell product and Sokolow-Lyon voltage, baseline ECG strain was associated with a 33% higher risk of the LIFE composite endpoint (HR. 1.33, 95% CI [1.11-1.59]). Development of new ECG strain between baseline and year-1 was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of the composite endpoint (HR. 2.05, 95% CI [1.51-2.78]), whereas the risk associated with regression or persistence of ECG strain was attenuated and no longer statistically significant (both p>0.05). After controlling for treatment with losartan or atenolol, for baseline Framingham risk score, Cornell product, and Sokolow-Lyon voltage, and for baseline and in-treatment systolic and diastolic blood pressure, 1 standard deviation (SD) lower in-treatment Cornell product was associated with a 14.5% decrease in the composite endpoint (HR. 0.86, 95% CI [0.82-0.90]). In a parallel analysis, 1 SD lower in-treatment Sokolow-Lyon voltage was associated with a 16.6% decrease in the composite endpoint (HR. 0.83, 95% CI [0.78-0.88]). The LIFE study shows that evaluation of both baseline and in-study ECG LVH defined by Cornell product criteria, Sokolow-Lyon voltage criteria or ECG strain improves prediction of CV events and that regression of ECG LVH during antihypertensive treatment is associated with better outcome, independent of blood pressure reduction.

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