Unexpectedly low left ventricular voltage on ECG in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

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While late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in paediatric patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is reported as similar to adults, the relationship between LGE and ECG findings in paediatric patients is unknown. We sought to evaluate the relationship between LGE on cardiac MRI and LV precordial voltage on ECG.


This was a retrospective analysis of paediatric patients with HCM aged 9–21 years with cardiac MRI and ECG completed within 60 days of each other. Demographic, MRI and ECG data were compared between patients with and without LGE. Maximal diastolic septal thickness, septal to free wall ratio and LGE presence were compared with LV precordial voltage (SV1, RV6 and SV1+RV6).


This study included 37 patients (33 male). Mean age was 15.8±2.8 years. Mean maximal LV diastolic septal thickness was 22.1±7.9 mm. Mean septal to free wall ratio was 2.4±1.6 mm. LGE was present in 18 patients, with 16 isolated to the ventricular septum. Comparing patients with and without LGE, there was no difference in age (p=0.2) or body surface area (p=0.9). However, the presence of LGE was associated with significantly increased septal thickness (p=0.03), yet decreased voltages in SV1 (p=0.005), RV6 (p=0.005) and SV1+RV6 (p=0.002) despite increased septal dimensions.


A significant inverse relationship exists between LGE presence and LV precordial voltage in this population. Unexpectedly low LV precordial voltages in patients with HCM may serve as a clinical surrogate marker for myocardial fibrosis and potential loss of viable myocardial tissue.

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