BACKGROUND: Electrocardiography (ECG) is used to screen for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), but common ECG-LVH criteria have been found less effective in athletes. The purpose of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the value of ECG for identifying athletes with left ventricular hypertrophy and/or a concentric cardiac phenotype.METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 196 male division 1 college athletes routinely screened with ECG and echocardiography within The Stanford Athletic Cardiovascular Screening Program was performed. Left-ventricular mass and volume were determined using echocardiography. Left ventricular hypertrophy was defined as left ventricular mass >102 g/m2; a concentric cardiac phenotype as left ventricular mass/volume (M/V) =1.05 g/mL. Twelve-lead ECGs including high-resolution time intervals and QRS voltages were obtained. 37 previously published ECG-LVH criteria were applied, of which the majority have never been evaluated in athletes. C-statistics, including area under the receiver operating curve (AUC), and likelihood ratios were calculated.RESULTS: ECG lead voltages were poorly associated with left ventricular mass (r=0.18-0.30) and M/V (r=0.15-0.25). The proportion of athletes with ECG-LVH was 0-74% across criteria, with sensitivity and specificity ranging between 0-91% and 27-99.5%, respectively. The average AUC of the criteria in identifying the 11 athletes with left ventricular hypertrophy was 0.57 (95% CI 0.56-0.59), while the average AUC for identifying the eight athletes with a concentric phenotype was 0.59 (95% CI 0.56-0.62).CONCLUSION: The diagnostic capacity of all ECG-LVH criteria were inadequate and therefore not clinically useful in screening for left ventricular hypertrophy or a concentric phenotype in athletes. This is probably due to the weak association between left ventricular mass and ECG voltage.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.06.028
View details for PubMedID 31738876