Negative T waves (NTWs) in right precordial leads (V1to V3) may be observed on the electrocardiogram (ECG) of healthy subjects but can also represent the hallmark of an underlying arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). It has been a consistent observation that NTWs usually become upright with exercise in healthy subjects without underlying heart disease. No systematic study has evaluated exercise-induced changes of NTWs in ARVC. We assessed the prevalence and relation to the clinical phenotype of exercise-induced right precordial NTWs changes in 35 patients with ARVC (19 men, mean age 22.2 ± 6.2 years). Forty-one healthy subjects with right precordial NTWs served as controls. At peak of exercise (mean power 149 ± 43 W, mean heart rate 83.6 ± 12.6% of target), NTWs persisted in 3 patients with ARVC (9%), completely normalized in 12 (34%), and partially reverted in 20 (57%). Patients with ARVC with or without NTWs normalization showed a similar clinical phenotype. The overall prevalence of right precordial T waves changes during exercise (normalization plus partial reversal) did not differ between patients with ARVC and controls (92% vs 88%, p = 1.0), whereas there was a statistically nonsignificant trend toward a greater prevalence of complete normalization in controls (56% vs 34%, p = 0.06). In conclusion, our study demonstrated that right precordial NTWs partially or completely revert with exercise in most patients with ARVC, and NTWs normalization is unrelated to the clinical phenotype. Exercise-induced NTWs changes are inaccurate in differentiating between ARVC patients and benign repolarization abnormalities. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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