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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57216. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057216. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

SNPs identified as modulators of ECG traits in the general population do not markedly affect ECG traits during acute myocardial infarction nor ventricular fibrillation risk in this condition.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Ventricular fibrillation (VF) in the setting of acute ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a leading cause of mortality. Although the risk of VF has a genetic component, the underlying genetic factors are largely unknown. Since heart rate and ECG intervals of conduction and repolarization during acute STEMI differ between patients who do and patients who do not develop VF, we investigated whether SNPs known to modulate these ECG indices in the general population also impact on the respective ECG indices during STEMI and on the risk of VF.


The study population consisted of participants of the Arrhythmia Genetics in the NEtherlandS (AGNES) study, which enrols patients with a first STEMI that develop VF (cases) and patients that do not develop VF (controls). SNPs known to impact on RR interval, PR interval, QRS duration or QTc interval in the general population were tested for effects on the respective STEMI ECG indices (stage 1). Only those showing a (suggestive) significant association were tested for association with VF (stage 2). On average, VF cases had a shorter RR and a longer QTc interval compared to non-VF controls. Eight SNPs showed a trend for association with the respective STEMI ECG indices. Of these, three were also suggestively associated with VF.


RR interval and ECG indices of conduction and repolarization during acute STEMI differ between patients who develop VF and patients who do not. Although the effects of the SNPs on ECG indices during an acute STEMI seem to be similar in magnitude and direction as those found in the general population, the effects, at least in isolation, are too small to explain the differences in ECGs between cases and controls and to determine risk of VF.

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