Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH) is closely linked to the cardiovascular disease prognosis, and thus, timely diagnosis improves outcomes. Diagnosis is challenging due to dependency on doctor’s visits and a 12‑lead ECG. In addition, the interpretation of LVH from ECGs is challenging due to variability of ECG measurements, body habitus, electrode positioning, several LVH ECG criteria and EP mechanisms. The aims of this study are to evaluate different big data-driven machine learning models for ECG LVH interpretation based on limb leads only, and to compare the performance of an ECG parameter-based statistical model with a deep learning-based model.
The first two models are binary class Random Forest (RF) models, an ensemble learning method which constructs many decision trees at training time and predicts the class chosen by the greatest number of trees at inference time. One random forest is trained using the following five features: lead aVL R-wave amplitude, lead I, II, aVL ST segment amplitude, and QRS duration. The second RF model uses 54 features across all limb leads, including the five features used by the smaller model. The second type of model is a multi-class deep neural network (DNN) which takes median beats of 6 limb leads arranged in Cabrera sequence as input. The signal preprocessing included forming median beats, filtering with a 40-Hz lowpass filter, and down-sampling to 125 Hz. The DNN models consist of 1 lead-formation convolutional layer, 5 downsampling convolutional resnet blocks with skip connections, and 3 fully connected layers. The training dataset consisted of 1 million 10-s 12‑lead ECGs, and an independent test dataset consisted of 250,000 10-s ECGs from the Mayo Clinic.
The five-parameter RF model has the prediction performance of Area Under the Receiver-Operator Curve (AUC) 0.78, and the larger RF model had AUC of 0.83. The DNN model for ECG LVH detection achieves AUC 0.92 using only the limb leads, compared to an AUC of 0.98 for the full 12‑lead DNN.
The study shows that machine learning models trained only on limb leads achieve promising results with potential to add clinical value to early detection mechanisms. We also observe that the RF model splits parameters by thresholds known to be characteristic of LVH, and that the DNN model can automatically detect morphology differences from 6 limb lead ECGs. This will be meaningful for expanding the capabilities of potential electrical LVH detection in mobile 6‑lead ECG devices.

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.