Author(s): Palmiero P, Maiello M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Patients with essential hypertension and/or left ventricular hypertrophy and ventricular arrhythmias suffer from an increased mortality rate. In all previous studies on hypertension, the criterion for inclusion was diastolic blood pressure > 95 mmHg. This is a low selective threshold. Our study attempted to evaluate the incidence of ventricular arrhythmia in hypertensive patients not receiving pharmacological treatment and diagnosed by 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), therefore using a more selective criterion than WHO guidelines. METHODS: Hundred-twenty-height consecutive patients with hypertension diagnosed on the basis of WHO guidelines were screened for 24-h ambulatory blood pressure measurement. Eighty-five (66.4\%) presented a 24-h mean blood pressure > 135/85 mmHg. All 85 patients were screened for M-mode, B-mode echocardiography, PW Doppler and 24-h ECG Holter recordings. RESULTS: Sixty patients (70.6\%) were affected by left ventricular hypertrophy and 25 were free (29.4\%). Thirty-six patients (42.4\%) had left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, 49 were free (57.6\%). According to Lown and Wolf's classification of ventricular arrhythmia, 20 patients (23.5\%) presented Grade I arrhythmia, 5 (5.9\%) presented Grade II, 4 (4.7\%) Grade III, 9 (10.6\%) Grade IVA, 20 (23.5\%) Grade IVB, 12 (14.1\%) Grade V and 15 patients (17.6\%) were free from premature ventricular complexes, namely Grade 0 arrhythmia. Left ventricular hypertrophy was found to correlate significantly with the arrhythmia score, r = 0.552 for p < 0.0001. Moreover, left ventricular diastolic dysfunction correlated significantly with the arrhythmia score, r = 0.495 for p < 0.0001. There was also a good correlation between left ventricular hypertrophy and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, r = 0.616 for p < 0.0001. Among patients affected by left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and left ventricular hypertrophy, the correlation with the arrhythmia score was even closer, r = 0.586 for p < 0.0007. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that by using a more selective criterion for the diagnosis of hypertension, we can identify patients with a highly significant statistical correlation between left ventricular hypertrophy and ventricular arrhythmia score, and also between diastolic dysfunction and the ventricular arrhythmia score, due to a more severe stage of disease. It is useful to detect those patients affected by ventricular arrhythmias for the primary prevention of major cardiovascular events.
This article was published in Minerva Cardioangiol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology