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Obes Rev. 2005 Nov;6(4):275-81.

Obesity and the electrocardiogram.

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Department of Medicine, St. John's Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Obesity is associated with a wide variety of electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities. Most of these reflect alterations in cardiac morphology. Some serve as markers of risk for sudden death. Key ECG abnormalities or alterations occurring with disproportionately high frequency in obese subjects include: leftward shifts of the P wave QRS and T wave axes, various changes in P wave morphology, low QRS voltage, various markers of left ventricular hypertrophy (particularly the Cornell voltage and product), T wave flattening in the inferior and lateral leads, lengthening of the corrected QT interval and prolonged QT interval duration. Alterations in the signal-averaged ECG and in heart rate variability may be arrhythmogenic. Cardiac arrhythmias have been described in obese subjects, but are often accompanied by left ventricular hypertrophy or the sleep apnea syndrome. Many of these ECG abnormalities are reversible with substantial weight loss. Thus, obesity is associated with a wide variety of ECG abnormalities, many of which are corrected by weight loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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