Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) assessed by echocardiography has a relevant impact in clinical decision making in hypertensive patients. We investigated the precision and accuracy of hypertensive LVH determination in current clinical practice by a regional-based survey. The study included 211 patients with essential hypertension consecutively attending six hospital outpatient hypertension clinics in the northern Italian region of Lombardy; all subjects had undergone an echocardiographic examination for hypertension-related problems in a non-academic or research ultrasound laboratory within 2 years. The original echocardiographic report was examined to ascertain whether the diagnosis of LVH was based on calculation of left ventricular (LV) mass according to validated formulae and indexed to body size (primary outcome) and whether LV geometrical patterns and indices of diastolic function were provided (secondary outcome). A total of 211 echocardiograms performed by 120 physicians operating in 73 different hospital and out-of-hospital ultrasound laboratories were collected. Absolute LV mass, LV mass index and relative wall thickness were calculated in 45.5%, 24.6% and 12.3% of the cases, respectively. Parameters of LV diastolic filling were measured in two-thirds of the cases and estimation of E/A ratio was provided by less than 20% of the examinations. This study shows that a large majority of echocardiographic examinations, routinely performed in hypertensive subjects in order to detect cardiac damage, do not report qualifying data on LV mass, LV geometry and diastolic function. These results indicate that a quantitative assessment of LVH and LV function is rarely provided in clinical practice.
- Left ventricular hypertrophy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine