Time-Voltage QRS Area of the 12-Lead Electrocardiogram: Detection of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

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Abstract

Identification of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) using 12-lead ECG criteria based primarily on QRS amplitudes has been limited by poor sensitivity at acceptable levels of specificity. Because the product of QRS voltage and duration, as an approximation of the time-voltage area of the QRS complex, can improve accuracy of the 12-lead ECG for LVH, we examined the diagnostic value of true time-voltage area measurements of QRS complexes from the standard 12-lead ECG. Standard 12-lead ECGs and echocardiograms were obtained in 175 control subjects without LVH and in 74 patients with regurgitant valvular heart disease and LVH defined by echocardiographic criteria (indexed LV mass >110 g/m2 in women and >125 g/m (2) in men). Standard voltage criteria, voltage-duration products (voltage multiplied by QRS duration), and true time-voltage areas of the QRS were calculated for Sokolow-Lyon criteria (SV1 +RV5/6) and the 12-lead sum of voltage criteria. Test sensitivities were compared using gender-specific partitions with matched specificity of 98% in the 175 subjects without LVH. Measurement of the time-voltage area significantly improved sensitivity for both criteria. The 76% sensitivity of the 12-lead sum area and 65% sensitivity of Sokolow-Lyon area were significantly greater than the 54% sensitivity of the approximation of QRS area provided by each voltage-duration product (P<.001 and P=.021) and than the 46% and 43% sensitivities of the respective simple voltage criteria (each P<.001). Comparison of receiver operating characteristic curves confirmed the superior overall performance of time-voltage area criteria compared with both voltage-duration products and simple voltage criteria. These results suggest that use of time-voltage areas can dramatically improve identification of LVH by 12-lead ECG. Further study of this approach is needed to identify optimal criteria for LVH based on the time-voltage area measurements from the 12-lead ECG. (Hypertension. 1998;31:937-942.)

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