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Circulation. 2012 May 29;125(21):2588-94. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.025577. Epub 2012 May 21.

Duration of QRS complex in resting electrocardiogram is a predictor of sudden cardiac death in men.

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  • 1Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, School of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.



Previous studies indicate that increased QRS duration in ECG is related to the risk of all-cause death. However, the association of QRS duration with the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) is not well documented in large population-based studies. Our aim was to examine the relation of QRS duration with SCD in a population-based sample of men.


This prospective study was based on a cohort of 2049 men aged 42 to 60 years at baseline with a 19-year follow-up, during which a total of 156 SCDs occurred. As a continuous variable, each 10-ms increase in QRS duration was associated with a 27% higher risk for SCD (relative risk, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-1.40; P<0.001). Subjects with QRS duration of >110 ms (highest quintile) had a 2.50-fold risk for SCD (relative risk, 2.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.38-4.55; P=0.002) compared with those with QRS duration of <96 ms (lowest quintile), after adjustment for established key demographic and clinical risk factors (age, alcohol consumption, previous myocardial infarction, smoking, serum low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein, type 2 diabetes mellitus, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and cardiorespiratory fitness). In addition to QRS duration, smoking, previous myocardial infarction, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and C-reactive protein were independently associated with the risk of SCD.


QRS duration is an independent predictor of the risk of SCD and may have utility in estimating SCD risk in the general population.

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