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Int J Cardiol. 1992 Jan;34(1):41-8.

Limitations of the electrocardiographic diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy: the influence of left anterior hemiblock and right bundle branch block.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, School of Cardiovascular Diseases, II University of Rome, Italy.


We analysed the performance of the electrocardiogram in diagnosing left ventricular hypertrophy in 70 patients with isolated left anterior hemiblock and in 75 patients with right bundle branch block, either isolated (44 cases) or associated (31 cases) with left anterior hemiblock. Left ventricular hypertrophy defined as an echocardiographically determined left ventricular mass greater than 261 g in men and 172 g in women or left ventricular mass index greater than 125 g/m2 in men and 112 g/m2 in women was present in 48 subjects (57%) with isolated left anterior hemiblock and 33 subjects (44%) with right bundle branch block. In patients with isolated left anterior hemiblock the best results were obtained using the SV1 or SV2 + (RV6 + SV6) greater than 25 mm with 74% in sensitivity and 67% in specificity; the criterion SIII + (R + S) maximal in a precordial lead greater than or equal to 30 mm showed a sensitivity of 74% but a specificity of 47%. In the whole group of patients with right bundle branch block none of the criteria nor combination of criteria achieved an acceptable performance (sensitivities ranged from 17% to 41% and specificities ranged from 54% to 85%). When these patients were divided according to the presence or absence of concomitant left anterior hemiblock the electrocardiographic indexes mostly showed, in comparison to whole group, higher values in sensitivity and lower values in specificity in right bundle branch block plus left anterior hemiblock and an opposite behaviour in isolated right bundle branch block.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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