Prevalence and characterization of ECG abnormalities after intracerebral hemorrhage

Maurits D R van Bree, Yvo B W E M Roos, Ivo A C van der Bilt, Arthur A M Wilde, Marieke E S Sprengers, Koen de Gans, Mervyn D I Vergouwen
Neurocritical Care 2010, 12 (1): 50-5

BACKGROUND: Although electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities are well known in ischemic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage, these changes have only rarely been investigated systematically in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence and type of ECG abnormalities in a consecutive series of ICH patients, and their possible association with pre-defined neurological and radiological parameters.

METHODS: The study population consisted of all consecutive patients with non-traumatic, intraparenchymal ICH admitted to the Academic Medical Center (AMC) between January 1, 2007 and October 1, 2007. Baseline information was prospectively registered in the AMC Stroke Register. ECGs obtained within 2 days after the initial hemorrhage were analyzed by one blinded observer. Admission cranial CT scans were re-analyzed by two blinded observers.

RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were included. Twenty-five patients (81%) had one or more ECG abnormalities. The most frequently observed ECG abnormality was QTc prolongation (36%), followed by ST-T morphologic changes (23%), sinus bradycardia (16%), and inverted T wave (16%). No patient was initially misdiagnosed for having myocardial ischemia. QTc prolongation was associated with ICH involvement of the insular cortex [OR 10.9 (95% CI 1.0-114.6)] and presence of intraventricular blood and hydrocephalus on admission CT scan [OR 10.8 (95% CI 1.6-70.9)].

CONCLUSIONS: In ICH patients ECG abnormalities are common. QTc prolongation seems associated with insular cortex involvement, with the presence of intraventricular blood, and with hydrocephalus. A larger cohort of continuously monitored ICH patients is necessary to investigate whether these ECG abnormalities are associated with poor outcome or death.

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