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ANCHOR LEAD: Careful assessment of an EKG may give clues to an important heart condition, Elizabeth Tracey reports.

Atrial fibrillation, which many people report as a sensation of fluttering in their chest, has emerged as an important risk factor for stroke and other cardiovascular problems.  Now a study has shown that carefully assessing routine EKGs can predict who is at risk for atrial fibrillation.  Michelle Bellantoni, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

BELLANTONI: We are often getting EKGs as part of preoperative assessments and we now have something to pull out of these EKGs to say, ah, this is something to add additional information to those at risk to go on to cardiovascular outcomes of importance and for which we have preventive therapy.  For example the patient at risk for atrial fibrillation is somebody in whom I would want to be more aggressive in managing the other risk factors for atrial fibrillation in particular hypertension.  :30

Bellantoni says those who are having routine EKGs should ask their physician about atrial fibrillation. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

-- JHMI --

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