Aging is associated with many ECG changes. ECG abnormalities are known to be more prevalent with age and differ across race and ethnicity, yet there are limited studies categorizing the ECG changes in the older population and the differences seen among racial groups. We sought to determine ECG differences associated with race and ethnicity in this ethnically diverse, elderly population.
The ECG parameters of subjects between the ages of 75 and 99 years from a large and diverse inner-city patient population were analyzed. Subjects were grouped into one of four categories: Hispanic, Black, Non-Hispanic White, or Other for analysis. Rhythm, axis, voltage, and conduction parameters were determined according to the 12 SL algorithm and interpretation statements (GE Healthcare, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin) that were confirmed by an overreading cardiologist.
38,238 subjects were included. Of all groups, Non-Hispanic Whites exhibited more conduction abnormalities such as bundle branch block compared to the other groups, as well as the highest incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) (12.6%, p < 0.05). Hispanics had the highest proportion of normal sinus rhythm. Blacks exhibited the least amount of AF (6.3%), as well as the highest incidence of LVH (25.5%), RAD (13.5%), and the largest percentage of abnormal ECGs (72.8%).
Significant differences among the elderly of different race and ethnicity were noted with most parameters.
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