Electrocardiographic Predictors of Incident Heart Failure in Men and Women Free From Manifest Cardiovascular Disease (from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities [ARIC] Study)

      The risk of incident hospitalized heart failure (HF) was evaluated for 23 electrocardiographic (ECG) variables in men and women free from cardiovascular disease. The hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals were determined from Cox regression analysis for 13,428 participants 45 to 65 years old in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. New-onset HF during a 14-year follow-up period occurred in 695 men (11.9%) and 721 women (9.5%). Several ECG variables were significant predictors of incident HF when evaluated as single ECG variables. Predominant among them were spatial angles, reflecting deviations of the direction of the repolarization sequence from the normal reference direction. After controlling for collinearity among the ECG variables, the spatial angle between T peak and normal T reference vectors, Ө(Tp|Tref), was a significant independent predictor in men (HF risk increased 31%) and women (HF risk increased 46%). Other independent predictors in men included epicardial repolarization time (62% increased risk) and T wave peak to T wave end (TpTe) interval, reflecting global dispersion of repolarization (27% increased risk). The independent predictors in women, in addition to Ө(Tp|Tref), were Ө(R|STT) the spatial angle between the mean QRS and STT vectors (54% increased risk) and QRS nondipolar voltage (46% increased risk). In conclusion, wide Ө(Tp|Tref), wide Ө(R|STT), and increased QRS nondipolar voltage in women and wide Ө(Tp|Tref), increased epicardial repolarization time, prolonged TpTe interval and T wave complexity in men were independent predictors of incident HF, and the presence of these abnormal findings could warrant additional diagnostic evaluation for possible preventive action for HF.
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