Prevalence and prognostic impact of electrocardiographic abnormalities in outpatients with extracardiac artery disease
Identifying cardiac disease in patients with extracardiac artery disease (ECAD) is essential for clinical decision-making. Electrocardiography (ECG) is an easily accessible tool to unmask subclinical cardiac disease and to risk stratify patient with or without manifest cardiovascular disease (CV). We aimed to examine the prevalence and prognostic impact of ECG changes in outpatients with ECAD. Outpatients with carotid or lower extremity artery disease (n = 435) and community-based controls (n = 397) underwent resting ECG. The patients were followed during a median of 4·8 years for CV events (hospitalization or death caused by ischaemic heart disease, cardiac arrest, heart failure, or stroke). ECG abnormalities were classified according to the Minnesota Code. Major (33% versus 15%, P<0·001) but not minor ECG abnormalities (23% versus 26%, P = 0·42) were significantly more common in patients versus controls. During the follow-up, 141 patients experienced CV events. Both major ECG abnormalities [hazard ratio (HR) 1·58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·11–2·25, P = 0·012] and any ECG abnormalities (HR 1·57, 95% CI 1·06–2·33, P = 0·024) were significantly associated with CV events after adjustment for potential risk factors. In conclusion, ECG abnormalities were common in these outpatients with ECAD. Major and any ECG abnormalities were independent predictors of CV events. Addition of easily accessible ECG information might be useful in risk stratification for such patients.