Open Access Research Article

Age-Related Electrocardiographic Changes in Apparently Healthy Adult Nigerians!

Nelson I Oguanobi1*, Charles U Odenigbo2, Ogonna C Oguejiofor2, Ezechukwu Aniekwensi3, Uchenna C Okonkwo4, Ukamaka M Odenigbo5 and Tobenna Agogbua1

11Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, Nigeria

22Department of Internal Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, Nigeria

3Department of Medicine, Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Nigeria

4Department of Medicine, University College Hospital Calabar, Nigeria

5Department of Dietetics, Federal University of Agriculture Umudike, Nigeria

Corresponding Author

Received Date: December 19, 2019;  Published Date: January 09, 2020


Background: Electrocardiographic abnormalities have been observed in the elderly even in the absence of history of heart disease. However, detailed descriptive data on electrocardiographic changes in healthy elderly individuals are scarce.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the electrocardiographic parameters and morphology in healthy elderly subjects and to compare these findings with those of healthy young volunteers.

Methods: A total of 66 elderly participants, aged 60 years and above, were recruited from the attendees to the quarterly medical lectures of the Ebreime Foundation for the Elderly, a non Governmental organization. The study was conducted in the medical outpatient clinics of Federal Medical Center, Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. An electrocardiographic data on a cohort of 62 healthy young volunteers served as controls for the study. All subjects had 12 –lead electrocardiography and background medical assessment with the aid of a questionnaire and then clinically examined to evaluate their cardiovascular status at rest.

Result: The mean age of the elderly subjects was 68.68±7.92 (Age range 60 - 91 years). Parameters were compared with those from a cohort of 62 young healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 32 years; mean age 28.37±5.91 years.

Electrocardiographic values of P-wave duration, PR interval, and QTc interval were significantly increased in the elderly. Electrocardiographic abnormalities were observed in 83.33% of the elderly subjects and in 3.23% of the young subjects. Electrocardiographic abnormality noted include; left ventricular hypertrophy, left atrial enlargement, left axis deviation, non specific ST segment elevation, T-wave inversion and sinus bradycardia.

Conclusion: Our study recorded high prevalence of electrocardiographic abnormalities in asymptomatic apparently healthy elderly subjects. The implication of our findings is that cardiac diseases may present with more subtle symptoms in the elderly. Hence the need for routing evaluation with electrocardiography and other measures for early detection and intervention.

Keywords: Age-related; Electrocardiography; Healthy; Elderly

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