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Routine ECG Screening May Help to Prevent CVD Events in Adults

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Baseline ECG abnormality linked to increased incidence of composite end point of overall death and CVD admission

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Routine electrocardiogram (ECG) screening may help to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, according to a study published online July 1 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Ryuichiro Yagi, M.D., M.P.H., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a nationwide cohort study to examine the association between ECG abnormalities and CVD outcomes in a population of individuals aged 35 to 65 years. A total of 3,698,429 individuals were enrolled in the nationwide health check program: 16.8, 3.9, and 1.5 percent had one minor ECG abnormality, two or more minor ECG abnormalities, and a major ECG abnormality, respectively.

The researchers found that compared with normal ECG, baseline ECG abnormality was independently associated with an increased incidence of the composite end points of overall death and CVD admission during a median follow-up of 5.5 years (incidence rates per 10,000 person-years, 92.7, 128.5, 159.7, and 266.3 for normal ECG, one minor ECG abnormality, two or more minor ECG abnormalities, and major ECG abnormality, respectively; adjusted hazard ratios, 1.19, 1.37, and 1.96, respectively, compared with normal ECG). An increased incidence of developing new major ECG abnormalities was seen in association with the presence and number of minor ECG abnormalities (incidence rates per 10,000 person-years, 85.1, 217.2, and 306.4 for normal ECG, one minor ECG abnormality, and two or more minor ECG abnormalities; adjusted hazard ratios, 2.52 and 3.61, respectively, compared with normal ECG).

“Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of routine ECG screening for early prevention of CVD events, along with optimal follow-up strategies for both major and minor ECG abnormalities,” the authors write.

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