Aims: Low QRS voltages (peak to peak <0.5 mV) in limb leads (LQRSV) on the athlete's electrocardiogram (ECG) may reflect an underlying cardiomyopathy, mostly arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) or non-ischaemic left ventricular scar (NILVS). We studied the prevalence and clinical meaning of isolated LQRSV in a large cohort of competitive athletes. Methods and results: The index group included 2229 Italian competitive athletes [median age 18 years (16-25), 67% males, 97% Caucasian] without major ECG abnormalities at pre-participation screening. Three control groups included Black athletes (N = 1115), general population (N = 1115), and patients with ACM or NILVS (N = 58). Echocardiogram was performed in all athletes with isolated LQRSV and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) in those with ventricular arrhythmias or echocardiographic abnormalities. The isolated LQRSV pattern was found in 1.1% index athletes and was associated with increasing age (median age 28 vs. 18 years; P < 0.001), elite status (71% vs. 34%; P < 0.001), body surface area, and body mass index but not with sex, type of sport, and echocardiographic left ventricular mass. The prevalence of isolated LQRSV was 0.2% in Black athletes and 0.3% in young individuals from the general population. Cardiomyopathy patients had a significantly greater prevalence of isolated LQRSV (12%) than index athletes, Black athletes, and general population. Five index athletes with isolated LQSRV and exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmias underwent CMR showing biventricular ACM in 1 and idiopathic NILVS in 1. Conclusions: Unlike cardiomyopathy patients, the ECG pattern of isolated LQRSV was rarely observed in athletes. This ECG sign should prompt clinical work-up for exclusion of an underlying cardiomyopathy.

Prevalence and clinical significance of isolated low QRS voltages in young athletes

Zorzi, Alessandro;Bettella, Natascia;Del Monte, Alvise;Crescenzi, Cinzia;Pegorin, Davide;D'Ascenzi, Flavio;Pescatore, Valentina;Giada, Franco;Sarto, Patrizio;Schiavon, Maurizio;Gregori, Dario;Pelliccia, Antonio;Corrado, Domenico
2022

Abstract

Aims: Low QRS voltages (peak to peak <0.5 mV) in limb leads (LQRSV) on the athlete's electrocardiogram (ECG) may reflect an underlying cardiomyopathy, mostly arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) or non-ischaemic left ventricular scar (NILVS). We studied the prevalence and clinical meaning of isolated LQRSV in a large cohort of competitive athletes. Methods and results: The index group included 2229 Italian competitive athletes [median age 18 years (16-25), 67% males, 97% Caucasian] without major ECG abnormalities at pre-participation screening. Three control groups included Black athletes (N = 1115), general population (N = 1115), and patients with ACM or NILVS (N = 58). Echocardiogram was performed in all athletes with isolated LQRSV and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) in those with ventricular arrhythmias or echocardiographic abnormalities. The isolated LQRSV pattern was found in 1.1% index athletes and was associated with increasing age (median age 28 vs. 18 years; P < 0.001), elite status (71% vs. 34%; P < 0.001), body surface area, and body mass index but not with sex, type of sport, and echocardiographic left ventricular mass. The prevalence of isolated LQRSV was 0.2% in Black athletes and 0.3% in young individuals from the general population. Cardiomyopathy patients had a significantly greater prevalence of isolated LQRSV (12%) than index athletes, Black athletes, and general population. Five index athletes with isolated LQSRV and exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmias underwent CMR showing biventricular ACM in 1 and idiopathic NILVS in 1. Conclusions: Unlike cardiomyopathy patients, the ECG pattern of isolated LQRSV was rarely observed in athletes. This ECG sign should prompt clinical work-up for exclusion of an underlying cardiomyopathy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3420430
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