The value of the high gain, signal averaged electrocardiogram combined with 24 hour electrocardiographic monitoring in the prediction of arrhythmic events was assessed in 159 patients in the first week after myocardial infarction. Eleven patients (7%) suffered arrhythmic events during a mean (SD) of 12 (6) months of follow up (range 2-22, median 13 months). The combination of high gain, signal averaged electrocardiography and 24 hour electrocardiographic monitoring was more accurate than either technique alone or than clinical information collected during admission in predicting these events. The combination identified a high risk group of 13 (8%) patients, with an arrhythmic event rate of 62% and a low risk group with an event rate of 2%. The combination of high gain, signal averaged electrocardiography and 24 hour electrocardiographic monitoring in the first week after myocardial infarction provides a rapid, cheap, and non-invasive bedside method for the prediction of arrhythmias.
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