Association between primary care electrocardiogram markers and Alzheimer's disease

Jonas L Isaksen, Jonas Ghouse, Morten W Skov, Morten S Olesen, Anders G Holst, Adrian Pietersen, Jonas B Nielsen, Anja Maier, Claus Graff, Thomas A Gerds, Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Jørgen K Kanters*

*Corresponding author for this work


OBJECTIVE: The association between common electrocardiogram (ECG) markers and Alzheimer's disease has been scarcely investigated, and it is unknown if ECG markers can improve risk prediction. Thus, we aimed to examine the association between common ECG markers and Alzheimer's disease in a large population.

METHODS: We studied the association between ECG markers and Alzheimer's disease using Cox models with adjustment for age, sex, and comorbidities using a large primary care population of patients aged 60 years or more.

RESULTS: We followed 172,236 subjects for a median of 7.5 years. Increased PR interval (hazard ratio for PR > 188 ms: 0.76 [95% confidence interval: 0.69-0.83, p < 0.001) and increased QTc interval (hazard ratio for QTc = [426;439]: 0.90 [0.83-0.98], p = 0.02) were associated with a decreased rate of Alzheimer's disease. A positive Sokolow-Lyon index >35 mm (1.22 [1.13-1.33], p < 0.001) and increased T-wave amplitude >4.1 mm (1.15 [1.04-1.27]) were associated with an increased rate of Alzheimer's disease. Upon addition of ECG markers to a reference model, 10-year prediction area under the receiver-operator characteristics curve (AUC) improved by 0.39 [0.06-0.67] %-points. The 10-year absolute risk of Alzheimer's disease was 6.5% and 5.2% for an 82-year old female and a male, respectively, with a favorable ECG, and 12% and 9.2%, respectively, with an unfavorable ECG, almost twice as high.

CONCLUSIONS: We identified several common ECG markers which were associated with Alzheimer's disease, and which improved risk prediction for Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120581
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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