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Am J Cardiol. 1987 Dec 14;60(17):85I-93I.

Population implications of electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy.

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  • 1Evans Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02118.


Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy on the electrocardiogram is an ominous harbinger of cardiovascular disease in the general population markedly increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, cardiac failure, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. This contribution to risk exceeds that of the often accompanying hypertension. Once overt coronary disease occurs, electrocardiographic LV hypertrophy also further escalates risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The risk associated with electrocardiographic LV hypertrophy is particularly great when repolarization abnormality is present. Electrocardiographic LV hypertrophy and silent electrocardiographic myocardial infarction are similar in evolution and prognosis. LV hypertrophy is an important predictor of risk of cardiac failure; the electrocardiographic manifestation of LV hypertrophy predisposes to cardiac failure more than x-ray cardiac enlargement. Electrocardiographic LV hypertrophy heralds the onset of serious cardiovascular disease and premature mortality despite lack of associated symptoms. The serious prognosis of this abnormality warrants vigorous preventive management. More prospective data are needed comparing the prognosis of echocardiographic anatomical hypertrophy with that diagnosed by electrocardiography.

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