Electrocardiographic findings in a middle-aged African population in the Seychelles islands

J Electrocardiol. 2000 Jan;33(1):1-15. doi: 10.1016/s0022-0736(00)80095-3.


This study describes major electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements and diagnoses in a population of African individuals; most reference data have been collected in Caucasian populations and evidence exists for interethnic differences in ECG findings. This study was conducted in the Seychelles islands (Indian Ocean) and included 709 black individuals (343 men and 366 women) aged 25 to 64 years randomly selected from the general population. Resting ECG were recorded by using a validated ECG unit equipped with a measurement and interpretation software (Cardiovit AT-6, Schiller, Switzerland). The epidemiology of 14 basic ECG measurements, 6 composite criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy and 19 specific ECG diagnoses including abnormal rhythms, conduction abnormalities, repolarization abnormalities, and myocardial infarction were examined. Substantial gender and age differences were found for several ECG parameters. Moreover, tracings recorded in African individuals of the Seychelles differed from those collected similarly in Caucasian populations in many respects. For instance, heart rate was approximately 5 beats per minute lower in the African individuals than in selected Caucasian populations, prevalence of first degree atrio-ventricular block was especially high (4.8%), and the average Sokolow-Lyon voltage was markedly higher in African individuals of the Seychelles compared with black and white Americans. The integrated interpretation software detected "old myocardial infarction" in 3.8% of men and 0% of women and "old myocardial infarction possible" in 6.1% and 3%, respectively. Cardiac infarction injury scores are also provided. In conclusion, the study provides reference values for ECG findings in a specific population of people of African descent and stresses the need to systematically consider gender, age, and ethnicity when interpreting ECG tracings in individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Black People
  • Developing Countries
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Seychelles / epidemiology