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Am J Cardiol. 2007 Sep 1;100(5):844-9. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

Comparison of the prognostic significance of the electrocardiographic QRS/T angles in predicting incident coronary heart disease and total mortality (from the atherosclerosis risk in communities study).

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.


Spatial QRS/T angle and spatial T-wave axis were shown to be strong independent predictors of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and total mortality, but they are not routinely available. We evaluated whether frontal plane QRS/T angle, easily obtained as the difference between frontal plane axes of QRS and T, provides a suitable substitute for spatial QRS/T angle as a risk predictor. Our study consisted of 13,973 participants from the ARIC Study. Outcome variables were incident CHD and total mortality during a median follow-up of 14 years. Electrocardiographic variables were categorized as abnormal (>/=95th percentile), borderline (>/=75th and <95th percentile), and normal (<75th percentile) separately for men and women. Cox regression was used to assess the effect of electrocardiographic variables on risk of each outcome. The normal category was considered the reference cell. With adjustment for demographic and clinical characteristics, both QRS/T angles were approximately equally strong predictors of total mortality with >50% increased risk. Spatial QRS/T angle was a stronger predictor of incident CHD in women, with a 114% increased risk, but it was not significantly associated with risk of incident CHD in men. Similarly, frontal plane QRS/T angle was statistically significant for only women with a 74% increased risk of incident CHD. In conclusion, frontal plane QRS/T angle as an easily derived risk measure is a suitable clinical substitute for spatial QRS/T angle for risk prediction.

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