The prevalence of atrial premature complexes in healthy Doberman Pinschers and their role in the diagnosis of occult dilated cardiomyopathy

J Eberhard, G Wess
Veterinary Journal 2020, 259-260: 105475
The importance of atrial premature complexes (APCs) as a possible marker of occult dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Doberman Pinschers (DP) is unknown. The aim of this study was to identify APC in healthy DP and to investigate their role as early markers of occult DCM. Holter-ECG results from 561 examinations of 153 DP at different time points were retrospectively evaluated, with special emphasis on APCs. Holter results from 110 healthy control DPs were compared to the last normal Holter and echocardiographic examinations in 43 DP that subsequently developed DCM within 15 months (DCM group), and to the first examination in the DCM group that contained ventricular premature complexes (VPC). There were no significant differences in the number of APCs or the coupling interval between the control group and the last normal examination in the DCM group (P > 0.05). The number of APCs increased slightly at the first abnormal examination in the DCM group. Healthy male DP had more APCs than females (P = 0.009) and older dogs had APCs more frequently than younger dogs (P < 0.001). About 85% of healthy DP with at least one APC/24 h had <20 APCs/24 h. Extracardiac diseases, especially gastrointestinal diseases influenced the occurrence of APCs (P = 0.037 and P = 0.006, respectively). APCs were present without obvious cardiac disease and were not a marker for the development of DCM, as they were not identified until after VPCs were present.

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