Electrocardiographic Preexcitation and Risk of Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality: Results From the Copenhagen ECG Study

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Background—The majority of available data on the clinical course of patients with ventricular preexcitation in the ECG originates from tertiary centers. We aimed to investigate long-term outcomes in individuals from a primary care population with electrocardiographic preexcitation.Methods and Results—Digital ECGs from 328 638 primary care patients were collected during 2001 to 2011. We identified 310 individuals with preexcitation (age range, 8–85 years). Data on medication, comorbidity, and outcomes were collected from Danish nationwide registries. The median follow-up time was 7.4 years (quartiles, 4.6–10.3 years). Compared with the remainder of the population, patients with preexcitation had higher adjusted hazards of atrial fibrillation (hazard ratio [HR], 3.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.07–4.70) and heart failure (HR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.27–3.50). Subgroup analysis on accessory pathway location revealed a higher adjusted hazard of heart failure for a right anteroseptal accessory pathway (HR, 5.88; 95% CI, 2.63–13.1). There was no evidence of a higher hazard of death among individuals with preexcitation when looking across all age groups (HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.68–1.68). However, a statistically significant (P=0.01) interaction analysis (<65 versus ≥65 years) indicated a higher hazard of death for patients with preexcitation ≥65 years (HR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.07–3.18).Conclusions—In this large ECG study, individuals with preexcitation had higher hazards of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. The higher hazard of heart failure seemed to be driven by a right anteroseptal accessory pathway. Among elderly people, we found a statistically significant association between preexcitation and a higher hazard of death.

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