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Prevalence and clinical significance of ECG abnormalities in physically healthy volunteers for mental health protocols

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center




  • AJ Pavletic
  • M Pao
  • DS Pine
  • DA Luckenbaugh
  • DR Rosing


Introduction: Although screening ECGs are often performed in research volunteers, there are no published data describing ECG findings in this population and their impact on the eligibility for studies. Methods: Retrospective analysis of 500 consecutive ECGs from physically healthy volunteers with negative cardiac history, normal cardiovascular exam and no other significant medical illnesses was performed. Results: The mean age of our cohort was 28.3+/-8 years. 80.6% of volunteers were younger than 35 years and 55.6% of participants were women. No abnormalities were found in 256 (51.2%) of all ECGs and isolated bradycardia was present in 135 (27%) of all cases. There were 122 abnormalities in 109 (21.8%) of all ECGs. The most prevalent findings included nonspecific T wave abnormalities (6.4%) and LVH by voltage criteria (2.6 %). Most abnormalities were minor except in eight (1.6%) subjects who, after consultation with a cardiologist, underwent evaluation with an echocardiogram. All echocardiograms were normal. No subjects were excluded from studies due to abnormal ECGs. Conclusions: Screening ECGs did not detect any major pathology or impact eligibility for studies in this cohort, but may have produced an indeterminable amount of emotional stress in some subjects by identifying them as having an abnormal ECG.

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