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J Electrocardiol. 2013 Nov-Dec;46(6):553-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2013.07.005. Epub 2013 Aug 9.

Electrocardiogram as a screening tool in the general population: a strategic review.

Author information

  • Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address: lteresh1@jhmi.edu.


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major public health concern, accounting for 400,000 deaths in the US each year. Clinical and autopsy studies have consistently demonstrated a predominant, common pathophysiology in Western populations, showing that the most common electrophysiological mechanism of SCD is ventricular fibrillation, and the most common pathologic substrate is coronary heart disease (CHD). In about half of SCD cases, death is the first clinical manifestation of CHD. Yet risk factors of SCD early in the natural history of conditions predisposing SCD have not been fully identified, and SCD risk stratification strategy in the general population has not been developed. ECG is an easily available, non-expensive and non-invasive tool, which carries valuable information on electrophysiological properties of the heart. However, traditional analysis of ECG includes very limited assessment of the arrhythmogenic substrate. In this review rationale for development of ECG SCD risk score for screening in the general population is discussed.

© 2013.


Electrocardiogram; Risk stratification; Sudden cardiac death

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