Objectives: This study sought to compare electrocardiogram (ECG) variants in athletic and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) cohorts matched for the confounders of age, sex, and ethnicity. Background: Anterior T-wave inversion (TWIV1−V4) is a common electrocardiographic finding in both athletes and patients with ARVC, and is a frequent conundrum in the setting of pre-participation screening. J-point elevation (JPE) has been proposed as an accurate means of identifying athletes, whereas disease markers, including premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) and low-voltage signals, have been associated with ARVC. Methods: This study examined 200 subjects with TWI V1−V4, including 100 healthy athletes and 100 ARVC patients matched 1:1 for age, sex, and ethnicity (age: 21 ± 5 years for athletes vs. 22 ± 5 years for ARVC patients; 47% male; 97% Caucasian). The presence of TWI, JPE, PVCs, and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) were assessed. Results: JPE was observed in 27% of athletes versus 16% of ARVC patients (p = 0.09). Thus, JPE had poor specificity (27%) and accuracy (60%) in identifying healthy athletes. In contrast, ARVC patients demonstrated a greater prevalence of precordial TWI beyond lead V3 (34% vs. 8%; p < 0.001), inferior TWI (31% vs. 3%; p < 0.001), PVCs (18% vs. 0%; p < 0.001), and lower LVH scores (SV1 + RV5; 19 ± 1 mm vs. 30 ± 1 mm; p < 0.001). These combined factors provided more reliable differentiation between health and disease (specificity 82%, accuracy 81%). Conclusions: PVCs and low QRS voltages are more prevalent among ARVC patients than athletes, whereas JPE is a relatively poor discriminator of health and disease when the confounders of age, sex, and ethnicity are considered.
- arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
- pre-participation screening
- T-wave inversion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)