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S Afr Med J. 1977 Sep 24;52(14):564-6.

Persistent ventricular ectopic beats: a long-term study.


Electrocardiograms of 8 000 flying personnel, who had been undergoing routine medical examinations from 1963 to 1976, were analysed for the presence of ventricular ectopic beats (VEB). Those in whom VEB persisted, i.e. VEB of the same form recorded in two or more tracings taken at least 1 year apart, were carefully examined for the presence of cardiovascular disease and followed up. VEB were detected in 178 (2,2%) of the 8 000 subjects. Of the 98 subjects followed up after VEB had been detected, 54 (55%) showed persistence of this arrhythmia. Significant cardiovascular disease, i.e. ischaemic heart disease, hypertension or atrial fibrillation, developed in 15 (27%) of these subjects at some time during the study. No instances of sudden death occurred over a mean follow-up period of 8,3 years, even though complex (multiform, repetitive or alternating) VEB were recorded in 20 (37%) of the 54 subjects.

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