Electrocardiographic T-wave morphology is used in drug safety studies as an adjunct to the QT interval, but few measurements of T-wave morphology can be interpreted in clinical practice. Morphology combination score (MCS) is a combination of T-wave flatness/peakedness, asymmetry, and notching, enabling easy visual assessment of T-wave morphology. We aimed to test the association between T-wave morphology, quantified by MCS, and mortality.
We included electrocardiograms recorded in 2001-2011 from 342,294 primary care patients. Using Cox regression, we evaluated the association between MCS, cardiovascular death, and all-cause mortality, adjusting for heart rate, QT, QT-prolonging drugs, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure.
270,039 individuals (44% men, median age 55 [inter-quartile range: 42-67 years]) were included and followed for a median of 9.3 years, during which time 13,489 (5.0%) died from cardiovascular causes and 50,481 (18.7%) from any cause. High values of MCS (i.e. asymmetric, flattened, and/or notched T waves) were associated with an adjusted mortality Hazard Ratio of 1.75 (95% CI 1.62-1.89) and 1.61 (1.43-1.92) for women and men, respectively. Low values of MCS (i.e. peaked and symmetric T waves) were associated with a Hazard Ratio of 1.18 (1.08-1.28) and 1.71 (1.48-1.98) for women and men, respectively.
In a large primary care population, we found that T-wave asymmetry, flatness, and notching provided prognostic information on mortality independent of heart rate, QTc, and baseline comorbidities.
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