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ECGs can ‘predict mortality’ in patients with atrial fibrillation

An ECG is an inexpensive way to help predict the risk of hospitalisation and death in patients with atrial fibrillation, say Canadian researchers.

Analysis of 12-lead ECG data from thousands of patient files found several patterns associated with differing risks of future adverse events.

A prolonged QRS duration was found to associated with a 40% increased risk for all-cause mortality, a 50-60% increased risk for cardiovascular mortality and a 90-120% increased risk for sudden cardiac death.

The study, presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress last week, also found an increased PR interval is associated with cardiovascular death and sudden cardiac death.

And a prolonged corrected QT interval is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular hospitalisation and sudden arrhythmic death in men, the analysis showed.

Study leader, Dr Jason Andrade, cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute said the inexpensive, prevalent use of the ECG plus the fact that anyone with atrial fibrillation has one to diagnose the condition makes their findings highly relevant to clinical practice.

He added they were ‘somewhat surprised at the strength of the relationship between the identified ECG predictors and the adverse cardiovascular outcomes’.


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