Electrocardiographic left ventricular strain pattern: everything old is new again.
Electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) has many faces with countless features. Beyond the classic measures of LVH, including QRS voltage and duration, the left ventricular (LV) strain pattern is an element whereby characteristic R-ST depression is followed by a concave ST segment that ends in an asymmetrically inverted T wave. The LV strain pattern generally appears in states of increased systemic blood pressure and must be differentiated from similar but not identical ST-T waves indicating ischemia. The LV strain pattern has been found in population studies to be associated with poor prognosis and increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Regression of LV strain pattern parallels decline in systemic BP during clinical trials of anti-hypertensive therapies but does not indicate or serve as a surrogate for decrease in LV mass. Newer techniques in data collection and processing may allow the process of strain to be studied in more detail to determine the ways in which electrical remodeling of the left ventricle as characterized by LVH with 'repolarization abnormalities' indicates how CV risk might be managed by using LV strain pattern as an electrocardiographic biomarker.
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