Researchers say ECG standards should be revised for elderly

March 14, 2008

Researchers at Mayo Clinic suggest that the established “normal” ranges for evaluating electrocardiograms for persons over 80 years old should be “revisited.” The recommendation comes in a study published today in the American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology.

After analyzing readings from more than 700 patients 80 or older, the researchers discovered that the average cutoffs (beginning and end points) for measuring all three ECG intervals -- PR, QRS and QT -- were greater than the current established norms. The findings also showed that the intervals, while greater in general, were significantly higher in men. The intervals refer to the times between recorded peaks of the specific motions in a heartbeat as represented on an electrocardiogram.

“What is normal for a population of middle-aged individuals may not be the same for the steadily increasing elderly population in this country,” says Latha Stead, M.D., lead author of the study and chair of the Division of Emergency Medicine Research at Mayo Clinic.

America’s “boomer” generation is quickly aging into a geriatric generation. In 1994 one person in eight was elderly; by 2030, that figure will be one in five. As these individuals age, physicians need to have appropriate standards to evaluate their cardiac health, whether they have a routine checkup or appear in an emergency department. Mayo is seeking the best information about how to treat each individual, no matter what the age.

Researchers studied ECG results from 702 patients who came to Mayo Clinic for routine annual examinations. Forty-six percent, or 331, were men. Just under 18 percent of all patients had a history of cardiac disease. Basing their reference ranges on the healthy subgroup -- 578 patients who either had no history of heart disease or who were taking heart medication -- the researchers established averages for each of the three ECG prolonged intervals, in men and women. In all cases, the average interval cutoffs for women were higher than the standards set out in the current medical literature. For men, the cutoffs were considerably higher -- in some cases more than twice as high. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest ECG standards be re-examined for both age and sex for the older population.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Explore further: Understanding and treating long QT syndrome

Related Stories

Understanding and treating long QT syndrome

January 4, 2018
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently read that long QT syndrome is quite common. What is it, and how is it diagnosed? I have read that fainting may be one sign of the disorder. Can long QT syndrome be treated?

Mayo Clinic creates institution-wide electronic prolonged QT interval warning system

April 25, 2013
Using a one-of-a-kind computer-aided program, Mayo Clinic has developed and implemented a Mayo-wide electronic warning system to identify patients at risk of QT-related deaths from an abnormality in the heart's electrical ...

The overlap of research and clinical practice is finding new ways to successfully treat mental illness

April 30, 2014
Linda (not her real name) was living a model life. An executive overseeing 300 staff with a supportive family, the 46-year-old was flying high. Then one day everything changed. Seemingly out of the blue she could not focus, ...

Study re-examines sports restrictions for children with heart rhythm disorder

April 20, 2015
Sports participation may be safer than previously thought for children with the heart rhythm disorder long QT syndrome, and authors of a new study in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology say restrictions should be eased to allow ...

How often does your heart skip a beat? The answer may explain why fewer blacks have AF than whites

October 27, 2017
Recent studies have determined that blacks have a lower risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) compared with whites despite having a higher prevalence of risk factors such as hypertension and heart failure. A new study in HeartRhythm ...

Recommended for you

Study looks at how newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels

February 19, 2018
A new study published today found that a newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels when it senses inadequate blood flow to tissues.

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.