The Value of ECG (EKG) Tests for Seniors

Most people are aware of the fact, as you age your risks for heart problems increases. You also may know of other risk factors like genetics, smoking and lifestyle. However, a recent study shows a standard 12-lead ECG test can be very beneficial for older people, in predicting the possibilities of a cardiac event occurring. This information is especially important because previous studies have been done, but not with a focus on the elderly.

The ECG study was conducted by Dr. Reto Auer, and several other physicians, along with ABC Health Study. The reason for the study was to determine if abnormal ECG tests are predictors of a cardiac event occurring in the coming years. Before this study, a typical 12-lead ECG test was not considered significant in determining risk factors.

In the study, adults between ages 70 and 79, both black and white were chosen. In addition, people without previous cardiovascular problems were the only participants. The baseline participants totaled 2192.

To start with (baseline) 36 percent of the people in the study had either major or minor abnormalities in their EKG tests. In this 36 percent, 23 percent or 506 showed significant ECG abnormalities while 13 percent or 276 had minor issues. During the follow up period, 351 of these people experienced a cardiac event and 96 died. In addition, there were 101 cases of acute myocardial infarction and 154 required hospitalization for a vascular procedure or chest pain (angina).

This data showed a definite relation between abnormal EKG tests and the chances of heart problems. In addition, the researchers made allowances for other risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, smoking and body mass index.

So what does this mean? It means, it may be a good idea for older people to have periodic testing and a standard 12-lead ECG test is an important consideration, especially for reasonably healthy adults over the age of 70. Since the group with major ECG abnormalities suffered more problems, it is even more important for those with major ECG irregularities to have further testing and take precautionary measures.

Additional Information
Each participant was given a typical 12-lead ECG test at the beginning of the study. Another ECG was provided after four years. The results were sent to St. Louis University Medical Center. 45 percent of the participants in the study were men and 55 percent were women. 59 percent were white and 41 percent were black. The average age was 73.5 years.

Jaken Medical is a trusted provider of 12-lead ECG machines and cardiology equipment to the healthcare industry.

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