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      Echocardiography-based left ventricular mass estimation. How should we define hypertrophy?

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          Left ventricular hypertrophy is an important risk factor in cardiovascular disease and echocardiography has been widely used for diagnosis. Although an adequate methodologic standardization exists currently, differences in measurement and interpreting data is present in most of the older clinical studies. Variability in border limits criteria, left ventricular mass formulas, body size indexing and other adjustments affects the comparability among these studies and may influence both the clinical and epidemiologic use of echocardiography in the investigation of the left ventricular structure. We are going to review the most common measures that have been employed in left ventricular hypertrophy evaluation in the light of some recent population based echocardiographic studies, intending to show that echocardiography will remain a relatively inexpensive and accurate tool diagnostic tool.

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          The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC 7 report.

          "The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure" provides a new guideline for hypertension prevention and management. The following are the key messages(1) In persons older than 50 years, systolic blood pressure (BP) of more than 140 mm Hg is a much more important cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor than diastolic BP; (2) The risk of CVD, beginning at 115/75 mm Hg, doubles with each increment of 20/10 mm Hg; individuals who are normotensive at 55 years of age have a 90% lifetime risk for developing hypertension; (3) Individuals with a systolic BP of 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic BP of 80 to 89 mm Hg should be considered as prehypertensive and require health-promoting lifestyle modifications to prevent CVD; (4) Thiazide-type diuretics should be used in drug treatment for most patients with uncomplicated hypertension, either alone or combined with drugs from other classes. Certain high-risk conditions are compelling indications for the initial use of other antihypertensive drug classes (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers); (5) Most patients with hypertension will require 2 or more antihypertensive medications to achieve goal BP (<140/90 mm Hg, or <130/80 mm Hg for patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease); (6) If BP is more than 20/10 mm Hg above goal BP, consideration should be given to initiating therapy with 2 agents, 1 of which usually should be a thiazide-type diuretic; and (7) The most effective therapy prescribed by the most careful clinician will control hypertension only if patients are motivated. Motivation improves when patients have positive experiences with and trust in the clinician. Empathy builds trust and is a potent motivator. Finally, in presenting these guidelines, the committee recognizes that the responsible physician's judgment remains paramount.
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            Echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular hypertrophy: comparison to necropsy findings.

            To determine the accuracy of echocardiographic left ventricular (LV) dimension and mass measurements for detection and quantification of LV hypertrophy, results of blindly read antemortem echocardiograms were compared with LV mass measurements made at necropsy in 55 patients. LV mass was calculated using M-mode LV measurements by Penn and American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) conventions and cube function and volume correction formulas in 52 patients. Penn-cube LV mass correlated closely with necropsy LV mass (r = 0.92, p less than 0.001) and overestimated it by only 6%; sensitivity in 18 patients with LV hypertrophy (necropsy LV mass more than 215 g) was 100% (18 of 18 patients) and specificity was 86% (29 of 34 patients). ASE-cube LV mass correlated similarly to necropsy LV mass (r = 0.90, p less than 0.001), but systematically overestimated it (by a mean of 25%); the overestimation could be corrected by the equation: LV mass = 0.80 (ASE-cube LV mass) + 0.6 g. Use of ASE measurements in the volume correction formula systematically underestimated necropsy LV mass (by a mean of 30%). In a subset of 9 patients, 3 of whom had technically inadequate M-mode echocardiograms, 2-dimensional echocardiographic (echo) LV mass by 2 methods was also significantly related to necropsy LV mass (r = 0.68, p less than 0.05 and r = 0.82, p less than 0.01). Among other indexes of LV anatomy, only measurement of myocardial cross-sectional area was acceptably accurate for quantitation of LV mass (r = 0.80, p less than 0.001) or diagnosis of LV hypertrophy (sensitivity = 72%, specificity = 94%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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              Prognostic implications of echocardiographically determined left ventricular mass in the Framingham Heart Study.

              A pattern of left ventricular hypertrophy evident on the electrocardiogram is a harbinger of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Echocardiography permits the noninvasive determination of left ventricular mass and the examination of its role as a precursor of morbidity and mortality. We examined the relation of left ventricular mass to the incidence of cardiovascular disease, mortality from cardiovascular disease, and mortality from all causes in 3220 subjects enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study who were 40 years of age or older and free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease, in whom left ventricular mass was determined echocardiographically. During a four-year follow-up period, there were 208 incident cardiovascular events, 37 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 124 deaths from all causes. Left ventricular mass, determined echocardiographically, was associated with all outcome events. This relation persisted after we adjusted for age, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, treatment for hypertension, cigarette smoking, diabetes, obesity, the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and electrocardiographic evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy. In men, the risk factor-adjusted relative risk of cardiovascular disease was 1.49 for each increment of 50 g per meter in left ventricular mass corrected for the subject's height (95 percent confidence interval, 1.20 to 1.85); in women, it was 1.57 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.20 to 2.04). Left ventricular mass (corrected for height) was also associated with the incidence of death from cardiovascular disease (relative risk, 1.73 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.19 to 2.52] in men and 2.12 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.28 to 3.49] in women). Left ventricular mass (corrected for height) was associated with death from all causes (relative risk, 1.49 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.14 to 1.94] in men and 2.01 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.44 to 2.81] in women). We conclude that the estimation of left ventricular mass by echocardiography offers prognostic information beyond that provided by the evaluation of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. An increase in left ventricular mass predicts a higher incidence of clinical events, including death, attributable to cardiovascular disease.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Graduate Studies Program in Cardiology. School of Medicine. Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre – RS. Brazil
                Cardiovasc Ultrasound
                Cardiovascular Ultrasound
                BioMed Central (London )
                17 June 2005
                : 3
                : 17
                Copyright © 2005 Foppa et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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