Background: A number of electrocardiogram (ECG) classification systems have been developed to estimate cardiac injury, infarct size, and left ventricular function. Although many studies have documented an association between clinical, imaging, and autopsy data, few have evaluated their prognostic value.
Methods and results: ECGs from 46,933 patients were analyzed using computerized measurements and algorithms. The Simplified Selvester Score, the Cardiac Infarction Injury Score (CIIS), and a Q-wave score were calculated. Other ECG characteristics such as left ventricular hypertrophy and bundle-branch blocks were also evaluated. The main outcome was cardiovascular (CV) mortality. During a mean follow-up of 6 years, the CIIS outperformed all other ECG classifications in determining prognosis. Going from lowest to highest tertile of CIIS, each step had a hazard ratio of 1.39 (CI 1.32-1.45) or a 39% increase in risk per tertile. Using clinically based thresholds, the annual mortality for high-risk CIIS was 4.5% (CI 4.0-4.6) versus 0.3% (CI 0.0-1.3) for those in the low-risk group.
Conclusions: A low-risk damage score was associated with a <1% annual CV mortality and a high-risk damage score with annual CV mortality of >4%. A damage score should be calculated as part of all computerized ECG interpretations.