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Combination ECG approach speedily spots emphysema

Reuters Health • The Doctor's Channel Daily Newscast

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Combining electrocardiographic P-axis and QRS duration data can provide enhanced criteria for emphysema detection, researchers report in a February 9th on-line paper in the American Journal of Cardiology.

“With our criteria,” David H. Spodick told Reuters Health by email, “physicians can tell immediately on inspection whether emphysema is present.” The approach, he added “had a predictably sensitive and specific result.”

Dr. Spodick of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester and colleagues note that emphysema of any pathogenesis, although nearly always due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has long been associated with verticalization of the frontal P axis in patients over the age of 45 years. “Healthy younger persons, especially children,” he pointed out, “normally have the key P-vector orientations.”

Dr. Spodick also noted that in publications dating back to the late 1950s, he and his colleagues “correlated the ECG changes with the degree of obstructive lung disease.”

To investigate the current combination, the team examined 50 consecutive unselected daily electrocardiograms with sinus rhythm and a P-wave axis of more than 60