Researchers found that elevated left ventricular mass, known as left-ventricular hypertrophy, is a stronger predictor of coronary artery disease-related death and heart failure than coronary artery calcium score.
It is a condition in which the muscle mass of the heart’s main pumping chamber is increased.
The research was conducted by a team from Switzerland.
The team analyzed data collected in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
MESA is an ongoing, multi-center study of a diverse, population-based sample of 6,814 men and women aged 45-84 with no known heart disease.
According to the team, there is little research on predicting the long-term risk of heart disease events in ethnically diverse patients who have MRI-identified left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy.
Previous studies have used ECG or echocardiography, which have lower sensitivity in the diagnosis of LV hypertrophy, and typically follow patients for only several years.
The MESA study used MRI, which is the gold standard for quantifying LV mass and had a long follow-up of 15 years.
The researchers studied otherwise healthy individuals from the community in the MESA study.
4,988 MESA participants underwent a baseline cardiac MRI between 2000 and 2002 and participated in follow-up over a 15-year period.
MRI showed that 247 participants in the study group had LV hypertrophy.
At the 15-year follow-up, the team found that 290 patients had a coronary heart disease event, including heart attacks.
Cardiovascular disease-related deaths occurred in 57 patients, and 215 patients had heart failure.
The team found LV hypertrophy was an independent predictor of coronary heart disease, including heart attacks, coronary artery disease-related death, and heart failure.
According to the analysis, 22% of the study participants with LV hypertrophy had a heart disease event, compared to only 6% of participants without LV hypertrophy.
In addition, patients with LV hypertrophy had 4.3 times the risk of coronary artery disease-related death compared to participants without LV hypertrophy.
The team says an elevated LV mass is potentially reversible under treatment.
The results provide further evidence and motivation for regular follow-up and management of individuals with left ventricular hypertrophy.
One author of the study is Nadine Kawel-Boehm, M.D., a senior staff radiologist at Hospital Graubünden in Chur. The study is published in the journal Radiology.
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