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Am J Geriatr Cardiol. 2004 Sep-Oct;13(5):248-51.

A case-control study on the prevalence of electrocardiographic rhythms and ischemic changes in elderly patients with acute cerebrovascular disease.

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Department of Clinical Geratology, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, England.


Electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities have been observed in acute cerebrovascular events. This case-control study investigated the prevalence of ECG rhythms and ischemic changes in elderly stroke and medical patients. The ECG rhythms and ischemic changes of 97 elderly patients admitted with acute stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) were compared with those of 70 medical controls admitted during the same study period. Patients' median age was 80 years. Atrial fibrillation occurred in 26 stroke/TIA patients (27%) and 17 control patients (24%). Ischemic ECG changes occurred in 54 stroke/TIA patients (56%) and 32 control patients (46%) (odds ratio, 1.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-2.83; p=0.18). Seventeen stroke/TIA patients (18%) vs. 19 (27%) control patients had a history of ischemic heart disease. After adjustment for ischemic heart disease, the odds ratio for ischemic ECG changes was 1.80 (95% confidence interval, 0.93-3.45; p=0.079). Atrial fibrillation accounted for a quarter of ECG rhythms in elderly acute stroke/TIA patients and elderly medical patients. The high frequency of ischemic ECG changes found in the stroke/TIA patients was not significantly different from that in the control patients. After adjustment for ischemic heart disease, there emerged a trend of borderline significance to suggest that ischemic ECG changes were more strongly associated with elderly acute stroke/TIA patients than elderly control patients. Larger outcome study will be required to determine the significance of ischemic ECG changes following acute cerebrovascular events in older patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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