Electrocardiography may be useful in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, study suggests

August 4, 2016 by Melva Robertson, Emory University

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) may be helpful in measuring the risk of cardiovascular disease in asymptomatic individuals according to a study led by researchers at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

With nearly half of sudden cardiac deaths occurring in individuals who were unaware of having , researchers aimed to derive and validate a equation based primarily on ECG metrics.

Led by Amit J. Shah, MD, MSCR, assistant professor of epidemiology at Rollins, the team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in which approximately 10,000 community-based adults ages 40-74 years of age were followed for cardiovascular events. From these data, they derived and validated a risk equation based on a patient's age, sex and three ECG metrics: heart rate, T-axis and QT interval.

An equation based on these metrics identified risk with at least similar accuracy as the Framingham risk and AHA/ACC Pooled Cohort equations (which are the standard of care). Researchers found that by utilizing both the Framingham and ECG risk assessments together, they were able to improve risk classification of cardiovascular death by 25 percent compared to using the Framingham equation alone.

Complete results are available in the August 3rd edition of JAMA Cardiology.

"Although ECG's are normally used to diagnose present-day heart disease in individuals believed to be at risk, many asymptomatic patients with normal ECG's may have electrocardiographic signs of disease that could predict future risk," explains Shah. "We believe that this is a potential added benefit of the ECG: to help screen for high risk individuals, and ultimately augment preventive efforts in clinical settings."

Although results of the study proved to be significant, Shah and team believe that future research is necessary to determine whether the combined will improve prevention intervention and cardiovascular disease outcomes.

According to Shah, "The next step is to conduct clinical trials to test for the potential benefit of ECG as a screening tool for physicians trying to prevent cardiovascular disease. Because of the low cost of ECG compared to other diagnostic tools, such studies may have very important public health implications."

Explore further: ECG scans predict kidney disease patients' risk of dying from heart disease

More information: Amit J. Shah et al. An Electrocardiogram-Based Risk Equation for Incident Cardiovascular Disease From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, JAMA Cardiology (2016). DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2016.2173

Related Stories

ECG scans predict kidney disease patients' risk of dying from heart disease

July 9, 2015
Several common measures obtained from electrocardiograms (ECGs) may help clinicians determine a kidney disease patient's risk of dying from heart disease. The findings, which are published in a study appearing in an upcoming ...

Increased QRS duration on ECG tied to cardiovascular mortality

September 19, 2013
(HealthDay)—Increased QRS duration on electrocardiogram (ECG) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality, according to a study published in the Sept. 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Follow-up testing indicated for inherited cardiac syndrome that can cause sudden death

November 16, 2014
Giulio Conte, M.D., of the Heart Rhythm Management Centre, UZ Brussel-VUB, Brussels, Belgium and colleagues investigated the clinical significance of repeat testing after puberty in asymptomatic children with a family history ...

AHA: Case vignette weighs pre-sport cardiac screening

November 20, 2013
(HealthDay)—Two questions relating to cardiac screening for high school students before participation in competitive sports are discussed in a case vignette published online Nov. 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine ...

Protein-based risk score may help predict CV events among patients with heart disease

June 21, 2016
In a study appearing in the June 21 issue of JAMA, Peter Ganz, M.D., of the University of California-San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a study to develop and validate a score to predict risk of cardiovascular outcomes ...

New research outlines more effective diagnosis for people with heart conditions

July 1, 2015
A new algorithm created by engineering experts at the University of Lincoln, UK, provides more effective Electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnosis for people with heart conditions. The research, which improves ECG signal classification ...

Recommended for you

Can liver disease be linked to heart failure? Study highlights liver-heart interaction

November 21, 2018
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have collaborated on a clinical trial that identifies indicators for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease—a typically asymptomatic disease caused by fat buildup in the liver and ...

New China and US studies back use of pulse oximeters for assessing blood pressure

November 21, 2018
Fast and easy blood pressure monitoring could soon be at your fingertips—literally—thanks to new University of British Columbia research that showed BP can be assessed by a fingertip oximeter, a tool not generally used ...

Gut protein mutations shield against spikes in glucose

November 20, 2018
Why is it that, despite consuming the same number of calories, sodium and sugar, some people face little risk of diabetes or obesity while others are at higher risk? A new study by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

Proteins cooperate to break up energy structures in oxygen starved heart cells

November 19, 2018
During a heart attack, the supply of oxygen to heart cells is decreased. This reduced oxygen level, called hypoxia, causes the cell's powerhouses, the mitochondria, to fragment, impairing cell function and leading to heart ...

Bullying and violence at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

November 19, 2018
People who are bullied at work or experience violence at work are at higher risk of heart and brain blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and stroke, according to the largest prospective study to investigate the ...

Genetic analysis links obesity with diabetes, coronary artery disease

November 16, 2018
A Cleveland Clinic genetic analysis has found that obesity itself, not just the adverse health effects associated with it, significantly increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. The paper was published ...

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.