Differences in the diagnostic value of a variety of definitions of negative T waves for HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) have not yet been clarified, resulting in a number of definitions being applied in previous studies. The aim of the present study was to determine the most accurate diagnostic definition of negative T waves for HCM in genotyped populations. Electrocardiographic and echocardiographic findings were analysed in 161 genotyped subjects (97 carriers and 64 non-carriers). We applied three different criteria that have been used in previous studies: Criterion 1, negative T wave >10 mm in depth in any leads; Criterion 2, negative T wave >3 mm in depth in at least two leads; and Criterion 3, negative T wave >1 mm in depth in at least two leads. Of the three criteria, Criterion 3 had the highest sensitivity (43% compared with 5 and 26% in Criterion 1 and Criterion 2 respectively; P<0.0001) and retained a specificity of 95%, resulting in the highest accuracy. In comparison with abnormal Q waves, negative T waves for Criterion 3 had a lower sensitivity in detecting carriers without LVH (left ventricular hypertrophy) (12.9% for negative T waves compared with 22.6% for abnormal Q waves). On the other hand, in detecting carriers with LVH, the sensitivity of negative T waves increased in a stepwise direction with the increasing extent of LVH (P<0.001), whereas there was less association between the sensitivity of abnormal Q waves and the extent of LVH. In conclusion, Criterion 3 for negative T waves may be the most accurate definition of HCM based on genetic diagnoses. Negative T waves may show different diagnostic value according to the different criteria and phenotypes in genotyped populations with HCM.

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