OBJECTIVES: ECG left ventricular hypertrophy (ECG-LVH) has been associated with left ventricular dysfunction and adverse prognosis, but little is known about the prevalence and prognostic significance of different levels of QRS duration in the presence of ECG-LVH in a general population. DESIGN: Population-based observational prospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Nationally representative random cluster of Finnish adult population. METHODS: We assessed the prevalence and long-term (median 15.9 years) prognostic significance of QRS duration in ECG-LVH, and compared the risk to individuals without ECG-LVH in a predominantly middle-aged random sample of 6033 Finnish subjects aged over 30 years (mean age 52.2, SD 14.6 years), who participated in a health examination including a 12-lead ECG. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, incidence of heart failure (HF). RESULTS: ECG-LVH was present in 1337 (22.2%) subjects; 403 of these (30.1%) had QRS duration ≥100 ms and 100 (7.5%) had ≥110 ms. The increased risk of mortality in ECG-LVH became evident after a QRS threshold of ≥100 ms. After controlling for known clinical risk factors, QRS 100-109 ms was associated with increased cardiovascular (HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.88, p=0.045) and QRS≥110 ms with cardiovascular (1.74, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.82, p=0.025) and all-cause mortality (1.52, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.25, p=0.039) in ECG-LVH. The risk of new-onset HF was two-fold in subjects with QRS 100-109 ms and threefold in subjects with QRS ≥110 ms, even after adjustment for incident myocardial infarction within the follow-up. When the prognosis was compared with subjects without ECG-LVH, subjects with ECG-LVH but QRS duration <100 ms displayed similar mortality rates with or without ECG-LVH but higher rates of incident HF. CONCLUSIONS: In ECG-LVH, the risk of excess mortality and new-onset HF markedly increases with longer QRS duration, but even QRS duration within normal limits in ECG-LVH carried a risk of HF compared with the risk in individuals without ECG-LVH.
- cardiac epidemiology
- heart failure
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