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J Electrocardiol. 2010 Sep-Oct;43(5):385.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2010.02.001. Epub 2010 Apr 5.

Prevalence of electrocardiographic abnormalities in a middle-aged, biracial population: Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.



Few studies to date have described the prevalence of electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities in a biracial middle-aged cohort.


Participants underwent measurement of traditional risk factors and 12-lead ECGs coded using both Minnesota Code and Novacode criteria. Among 2585 participants, of whom 57% were women and 44% were black (mean age 45 years), the prevalence of major and minor abnormalities was significantly higher (all P < .001) among black men and women compared to whites. These differences were primarily due to higher QRS voltage and ST/T-wave abnormalities among blacks. There was also a higher prevalence of Q waves (Minnesota Code 1-1, 1-2, 1-3) than described by previous studies. These racial differences remained after multivariate adjustment for traditional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors.


Black men and women have a significantly higher prevalence of ECG abnormalities, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, than whites in a contemporary cohort of middle-aged participants.

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