Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Routine electrocardiograms predict health risks for patients with atrial fibrillation

Date:
October 28, 2012
Source:
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Summary:
Routine electrocardiogram results for patients with atrial fibrillation can help doctors identify those at higher risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including death.

Canadian scientists have determined that routine electrocardiogram (ECG) results for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) -- the most common form of irregular heart beat -- can help doctors identify those at higher risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including death. This knowledge will help doctors improve the treatment and prognosis of atrial fibrillation.

Through a retrospective analysis of thousands of patient files, researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute and the University of Calgary learned that a routine 12-lead surface ECG -- in which 12 different electrical signals are recorded -- conducted at the time of AF diagnosis is an accurate predictor of later adverse events.

Research presented October 28 at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress found that patients with AF do not all face the same risks for disease; determining the extent to which any individual patient is at risk of adverse events has been a challenge for doctors, until now.

"The ECG has recently received resurging attention due to its simplicity, relatively cheap cost and near universal availability," says Dr. Jason Andrade, cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute. "This knowledge, combined with the recognition that all patients with AF will receive an ECG as part of their diagnostic work-up, makes it highly useful as a method for assessing risk."

ECG is used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats, as well as the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart, such as a pacemaker

Researchers found that the strongest indicators of risk were prolonged QRS duration and prolonged PR and QT intervals, each of which is a measure of electrical waves that regulate heart rhythm.

For example, a prolonged QRS duration is associated with an increased risk of multiple adverse cardiovascular outcomes including death and hospitalization.

An increased PR interval is associated with cardiovascular death and sudden cardiac death. A prolonged corrected QT interval is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular hospitalization and sudden arrhythmic death in men.

Dr. Andrade noted that the research team was "somewhat surprised at the strength of the relationship between the identified ECG predictors and the adverse cardiovascular outcomes."

Their data analysis showed that a prolonged QRS duration was associated with a 40 per cent increased risk for all-cause mortality, a 50 to 60 per cent increased risk for cardiovascular mortality and a 90 to 120 per cent increased risk for sudden cardiac death.

It is estimated that 350,000 Canadians live with AF, and that rate is likely climbing as the population ages. Those with AF are three to five times more likely to suffer a stroke, the majority of which are disabling and are more likely to be fatal. However, prevention is effective at reducing the risks associated with AF.

Atrial fibrillation (AF), a type of irregular heart rhythm known as an arrhythmia, can cause the heart to beat very fast, sometimes more than 150 beats per minute. While it is rare in people under 40, its prevalence increases with age.

"Knowing that the risk of developing AF increases with age and with other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and underlying heart disease, it is important to take action by following a healthy lifestyle to start reducing your risk," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson. "Your risk for developing many diseases can be reduced if your diet is lower in sodium, saturated and trans fats and includes plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains."

She says that if you have a tendency to high blood pressure -- which is associated with AF -- then regular activity, watching salt in your diet and maintaining a healthy body weight are especially important preventive measures.

Dr. Abramson also recommends being tobacco-free, limiting alcohol intake and reducing stress as much as possible. "Any lifestyle changes that lower blood pressure may reduce your chances of developing AF," she adds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "Routine electrocardiograms predict health risks for patients with atrial fibrillation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121028141715.htm>.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. (2012, October 28). Routine electrocardiograms predict health risks for patients with atrial fibrillation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121028141715.htm
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "Routine electrocardiograms predict health risks for patients with atrial fibrillation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121028141715.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins