COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Patterns and prognosis of all components of the J-wave pattern in multiethnic athletes and ambulatory patients

David Muramoto, Celina M Yong, Nikhil Singh, Sonya Aggarwal, Marco Perez, Euan Ashley, David Hadley, Victor Froelicher
American Heart Journal 2014, 167 (2): 259-66
24439988

BACKGROUND: Despite recent concern about the significance of the J-wave pattern (also often referred to as early repolarization) and the importance of screening in athletes, there are limited rigorous prognostic data characterizing the 3 components of the J-wave pattern (ST elevation, J waves, and QRS slurs). We aim to assess the prevalence, patterns, and prognosis of the J-wave pattern among both stable clinical and athlete populations.

METHODS: We retrospectively studied 4,041 electrocardiograms from a multiethnic clinical population from 1997 to 1999 at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. We also examined preparticipation electrocardiograms of 1,114 Stanford University varsity athletes from 2007 to 2008. Strictly defined criteria for components of the J-wave pattern were examined. In clinical subjects, prognosis was assessed using the end point of cardiovascular death after 7 years of follow-up.

RESULTS: Components of the J-wave pattern were most prevalent in males; African Americans; and, particularly, athletes, with the greatest variations demonstrated in the lateral leads. ST elevation was the most common. Inferior J waves and slurs, previously linked to cardiovascular risk, were observed in 9.6% of clinical subjects and 12.3% of athletes. J waves, slurs, or ST elevation was not associated with time to cardiovascular death in clinical subjects, and ST-segment slope abnormalities were not prevalent enough in conjunction with them to reach significance.

CONCLUSIONS: J waves, slurs, or ST elevation was not associated with increased hazard of cardiovascular death in our large multiethnic, ambulatory population. Even subsets of J-wave patterns, recently proposed to pose a risk of arrhythmic death, occurred at such a high prevalence as to negate their utility in screening.

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