Prevalence and severity of ECG anomalies in a rural Australian population

Herbert Jelinek, Lexin Wang, Paul Warner, Hayder Al-Aubaidy

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Aims: To determine the prevalence and severity of cardiac arrhythmias in a rural Australian population using ECG assessment.
Study Design: This is a University-based research project. Comparative design with random samples used.
Place and Duration of Study: School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia.
Methodology: Five hundred and eight participants with or without a known history of cardiovascular disease were recruited via public media announcements indicating a health screening opportunity carried out at the local university. Their medical history was obtained and a 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) was recorded. ECG recordings were classified into severity and prevalence determined in each category. The number of participants that had to be referred and had follow-up by the general practitioner was determined.
Results: Moderate to severe ECG anomalies, which included atrial fibrillation or left bundle branch block were identified in 58 (11.4%) of the participants. Forty (7.9%) individuals with ECG anomalies were referred to the general practitioner for further evaluation. Eight participants did not seek further advice. Twenty-two (68.8%) participants that made an appointment to see their general practitioner were either commenced on treatment, had their treatment changed or received surgery. A further 85 (16.7%) of individuals required regular follow-up in line with their ECG characteristics and other health information, presenting with non-clinical ECG changes that had the potential for adverse health outcomes in the future including long QT interval, right bundle branch block or left ventricular hypertrophy for instance.
Conclusion: Our study has demonstrated that a substantial number of patients in this rural community have both ECG abnormalities and or cardiac arrhythmias that required regular review or commencement of treatment by their doctor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1558-1566
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Medicine and Medical Research
Issue number7
Early online date2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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