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Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol. 2014 May;19(3):258-65. doi: 10.1111/anec.12125. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Electrocardiography at diagnosis and close to the time of death in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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  • 1Department of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland, OH.



Scarce information exits on the electrocardiographic (ECG) characteristics of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients close to their death and whether observed abnormalities progress from the time of PAH diagnosis.


We analyzed the characteristics of the ECG performed at initial diagnosis, during the course of the disease and close to the time of death on consecutive PAH patients followed at our institution between June 2008 and December 2010.


We included 50 patients with PAH (76% women) with mean (SD) age of 58 (14) years. Median heart rate (83 vs 89 bpm, P = 0.001), PR interval (167 vs 176 ms, P = 0.03), QRS duration (88 vs 90 ms, P = 0.02), R/S ratio in lead V1 (1 vs 2, P = 0.01), and QTc duration (431 vs 444 ms, P = 0.02) significantly increased from the initial to the last ECG. In addition, the frontal QRS axis rotated to the right (97 vs 112 degrees, P = 0.003) and we more commonly observed right bundle branch block (5% vs 8%, P = 0.03) and negative T waves in inferior leads (31% vs 60%, P = 0.004). No patient had normal ECG at the time of death.


Significant changes progressively occur in a variety of ECG parameters between the time of the initial PAH diagnosis and close to death.

©2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


electrocardiography; outcome assessment; pulmonary hypertension

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