BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The diagnosis of LVH by ECG may particularly difficult in obese individuals. The aim of this study was to prospectively investigate whether the correction for body mass index (BMI) might improve the prognostic significance for cerebro and cardiovascular events of two electrocardiographic (ECG) criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in a large cohort of Italian adults.
METHODS AND RESULTS: In 18,330 adults (54 ± 11 years, 55% women) from the Moli-sani cohort, obesity was defined using the ATPIII criteria. The Sokolow-Lyon (SL) and Cornell Voltage (CV) criteria were used for ECG-LVH. In overweight and obese subjects, as compared with normal weight, the prevalence of ECG-LVH by the SL index was lower. During follow-up (median 4.3 yrs), 503 cerebro and cardiovascular events occurred. One standard deviation (1-SD) increment in uncorrected and in BMI-corrected SL index and CV was associated with an increased risk of events (HR 1.12, 95% CI 1.02-1.22 and HR 1.16, 95% CI 1.06-1.26 and HR 1.12, 95% CI 1.03-1.23 and HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.07-1.27, respectively for SL and CV). In obese subjects, 1-SD increment in uncorrected CV and in BMI-corrected CV was not associated to a significant risk of events (HR 1.05, 95% CI 0.910-1.22 and HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.95-1.23 respectively). Uncorrected SL index showed a significant association with events, which was marginally stronger with BMI-corrected SL voltage (HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.02-1.37 and HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04-1.33 respectively, Akaike information criterion change from 3220 to 3218).
CONCLUSIONS: BMI correction of ECG LVH voltage criteria does not significantly improve the prediction of cerebro and cardiovascular events in obese patients in a large cohort at low cardiovascular risk.