Time-tested data indicate that ECG diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy in young athletes is challenging due to low sensitivity of the commonly used criteria. We sought to establish whether adult ECG criteria can be appropriate to make diagnosis of both common and uncommon patterns of left ventricular hypertrophy in young trained athletes. A total of 122 athletes, ages 16.2±3.8 years, training at least 5 h per week, were studied with Sokolow-Lyon voltage, Romhilt-Estes, Cornell voltage, Cornell Product, Perugia and Framingham scores. Garson Criteria were also investigated in athletes under 16. Participants were divided into 2 groups based on the presence (group-A, n=56) or absence (group-B, n=66) of at least one positive ECG score. Test performance was calculated with respect to accurate echocardiographic diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy. There were no inter-group differences regarding physical characteristics and training burden. 9 athletes from group-A (16%) and 2 from group-B (3%) were found to have left ventricular hypertrophy, likely to be pathological in 2 cases from group-A. Criteria gathering both QRS voltages and ST-T anomalies, like Perugia-score, best identified this subgroup and should be preferred to those based on QRS voltage analysis alone.
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