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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2000 December;48(12):427-34

language: English, Italian

Ventricular arrhythmias and left ventricular hypertrophy in essential hypertension

Palmiero P., Maiello M.


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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.

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