Author(s): Palmiero P, Maiello M
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Abstract AIM: A higher incidence of cardiac death exists in patients with essential hypertension, and it is higher still in those with ventricular arrhythmia. The purpose of noninvasive diagnostic imaging in hypertensive patients is to determine those with a greater risk for arrhythmia. In previous studies on hypertension, one of the inclusion criteria is diastolic blood pressure <95 mmHg, which, however, is a low selectivity criterion. Instead, our study emphasizes the need to evaluate the incidence of ventricular arrhythmia in hypertensive patients not yet receiving drug therapy and to formulate the diagnosis based on 24-h ambulatory arterial blood pressure monitoring, which represents a more selective criterion than the diastolic pressure value proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). METHODS: A total of 128 consecutive patients with essential hypertension classified according to WHO criteria underwent 24-h monitoring, 85 (66.4\%) of which presented with a mean 24-h arterial pressure >135/85 mmHg. These patients were then evaluated using mono- and two-dimensional echocardiography and 24-h dynamic Holter monitoring to detect arrhythmias and the presence of left ventricular later potentials. RESULTS: Left ventricular hypertrophy was present in 60 (70.6\%) patients and absent in 25 (29.4\%). Based on the Lown classification of ventricular arrhythmia, 20 (23.5\%) patients had Grade I arrhythmia, 5 (5.9\%) Grade II, 4 (4.7\%) Grade III, 9 (10.6\%) Grade IVA, 20 (23.5\%) Grade IVB, 12 (14.1\%) Grade V, 15 (17.6\%) clinically unremarkable arrhythmia, and 17 (20\%) had late potentials because they tested positive to at least 2 out of three criteria, and 2 patients were positive to all 3 criteria. CONCLUSION: Our study findings demonstrated a significant correlation between left ventricular hypertrophy and grade of arrhythmia (r=0.552; p<0.0001) and late potentials (r=0.405; p<0.001). The presence of late potentials was also found to correlate significantly with grade of arrhythmia (r=0.593; p<0.001). These patients present with a more severe stage of the disease and should therefore receive more aggressive treatment to prevent sudden cardiac death resulting from arrhythmia.
This article was published in Minerva Cardioangiol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology