Seamens' Sign: a novel electrocardiogram prediction tool for left ventricular hypertrophy

PeerJ. 2022 May 31:10:e13548. doi: 10.7717/peerj.13548. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Patients with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) diagnosed by electrocardiogram (ECG) have increased mortality and higher risk for life-threatening cardiovascular disease. ECGs offer an opportunity to identify patients with increased risk for potential risk-modifying therapy. We developed a novel, quick, easy to use ECG screening criterion (Seamens' Sign) for LVH. This new criterion was defined as the presence of QRS complexes touching or overlapping in two contiguous precordial leads.

Methods: This study was a retrospective chart review of 2,184 patient records of patients who had an ECG performed in the emergency department and a transthoracic echocardiogram performed within 90 days. The primary outcome was whether Seamens' Sign was noninferior in confirming LVH compared to other common diagnostic criteria. Test characteristics were calculated for each of the LVH criteria. Inter-rater agreement was assessed on a random sample using Cohen's Kappa.

Results: Median age was 63, 52% of patients were male and there was a 35% prevalence of LVH by transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). Nine percent were positive for LVH on ECG based on Seamens' Sign. Seamens' Sign had a specificity of 0.92. Tests assessing noninferiority indicated Seamens' Sign was non-inferior to all criteria (p < 0.001) except for Cornell criterion for women (p = 0.98). Seamens' Sign had 90% (0.81-1.00) inter-rater agreement, the highest of all criteria in this study.

Conclusion: When compared to both the Sokolow-Lyon criteria and the Cornell criterion for men, Seamens' Sign is noninferior in ruling in LVH on ECG. Additionally, Seamens' Sign has higher inter-rater agreement compared to both Sokolow-Lyon criteria as well as the Cornell criteria for men and women, perhaps related to its ease of use.

Keywords: Electrocardiogram; Left ventricular hypertrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography / adverse effects
  • Electrocardiography / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / complications
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular* / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies

Grants and funding

The authors received no funding for this work.