An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that evaluates the electrical activity of the heart and
can be used to detect heart problems. By analyzing ECGs collected over a 20-year period,
this study will examine ECG abnormalities and the differences in ECG findings between black
and white people, from young adulthood through middle age.
An ECG is a test that detects and records the electrical activity of the heart. As a
diagnostic tool, it can detect and locate the source of heart problems, including heart
attacks, irregular heart beats, cardiovascular disease, or other abnormalities of the heart.
An ECG procedure involves attaching electrodes to the skin on the chest, arms, and legs
while the electrodes detect electrical signals of the heart, and a machine displays the
signals on a computer screen and graph paper. An ECG may be a beneficial way to detect
cardiovascular disease because it is a low-cost and non-invasive test that is widely
available in the clinical setting.
This study will examine ECGs and other study data from participants in the Coronary Artery
Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. As ECG abnormalities typically begin to
develop in young adults, the CARDIA participants will provide researchers with an excellent
study population. As part of the CARDIA study, ECGs were obtained from participants at
baseline, and Years 7 and 20. Study researchers will use state-of-the-art technology and
standardized Minnesota Code and Novacode methods to electronically code participants' ECGs
and accomplish the following: 1) assess the frequency of ECG abnormalities in young adults
of different races; 2) examine potential risk factors for the development and progression of
ECG abnormalities; 3) investigate the relationship between ECG abnormalities and other
measures of heart disease; and 4) assess differences in the frequency and patterns of ECG
abnormalities between different racial groups. Study researchers will also analyze
additional CARDIA study data, including cardiovascular disease risk factors, measures of
atherosclerosis, and echocardiographic ultrasound pictures of the heart.
This research will provide important insights into the ways in which ECG abnormalities are
associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and how the risk may differ
between blacks and whites. Results from this study may ultimately lead to improvements in
preventive strategies for cardiovascular disease in young adults.
- Participated in the CARDIA study
Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine