PR interval prolongation and 1-year mortality among emergency department patients: a multicentre transnational cohort study

BMJ Open. 2021 Dec 14;11(12):e054238. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054238.


Objectives: Emerging evidence supports that PR interval prolongation is associated with increased mortality. However, most previous studies have limited confounder control, and clinical impact in a population of acute ill patients is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate whether 1-year all-cause mortality was increased in patients presenting with PR interval prolongation in the emergency department (ED).

Design and setting: We conducted a register-based cohort study in two Swedish and two Danish EDs. We included all adult patients with an ECG performed at arrival to the Danish EDs during March 2013 to May 2014 and Swedish EDs during January 2010 to January 2011. Using propensity score matching, we analysed HR for 1-year all-cause mortality comparing patients with PR interval prolongation (>200 ms) and normal PR interval (120-200 ms).

Participants and results: We included 106 124 patients. PR interval prolongation occurred in 8.9% (95% CI 8.7% to 9.0%); these patients were older and had more comorbidity than those with a normal PR interval. The absolute 1-year risk of death was 13% (95% CI 12.3% to 13.7%) for patients with PR interval prolongation and 7.9% (95% CI 7.7% to 8.0%) for those without. After confounder adjustments by propensity score matching, PR interval prolongation showed no association with 1-year mortality with a HR of 1.00 (95% CI 0.93% to 1.08%).

Conclusion: PR interval prolongation does not constitute an independent risk factor for 1-year mortality in ED patients.

Keywords: accident & emergency medicine; cardiac epidemiology; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrioventricular Block*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors