Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Test may help predict cardiac risk

"U.S. researchers suggest comparing annual electrocardiograms may help predict sudden cardiac arrest. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, finds a statistically significant link between sudden cardiac death and changes over time in a portion of the electrocardiogram called the QRS duration - the composite of waves showing the length of time it takes for an electrical signal to go through the pumping chambers of the heart. "What we hope is that physicians will start paying more attention to QRS duration as a warning signal. If they do, lives could be saved," study co-author Dr. Peter Okin of Weill Cornell Medical College and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center said in a statement. Study leader Dr. Daniel P. Morin of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans was based on data from the LIFE study - a multicenter study between 1995 and 2001 of more than 9,000 patients with hypertension. "Because of the wealth of data collected during the LIFE study, we were able to fine-tune our efforts and control for potential confounders," Okin said" - UPI

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