Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Electrocardiographic biomarkers to predict atrial fibrillation in sinus rhythm electrocardiograms


Objective Early prediction of atrial fibrillation (AF) development would improve patient outcomes. We propose a simple and cheap ECG based score to predict AF development.

Methods A cohort of 16 316 patients was analysed. ECG measures provided by the computer-assisted ECG software were used to identify patients. A first group included patients in sinus rhythm who showed an ECG with AF at any time later (n=505). A second group included patients with all their ECGs in sinus rhythm (n=15 811). By using a training set (75% of the cohort) the initial sinus rhythm ECGs of both groups were analysed and a predictive risk score based on a multivariate logistic model was constructed.

Results A multivariate regression model was constructed with 32 variables showing a predictive value characterised by an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.776 (95% CI: 0.738 to 0.814). The subsequent risk score included the following variables: age, duration of P-wave in aVF, V4 and V5; duration of T-wave in V3, mean QT interval adjusted for heart rate, transverse P-wave clockwise rotation, transverse P-wave terminal angle and transverse QRS complex terminal vector magnitude. Risk score values ranged from 0 (no risk) to 5 (high risk). The predictive validity of the score reached an AUC of 0.764 (95% CI: 0.722 to 0.806) with a global specificity of 61% and a sensitivity of 55%.

Conclusions The automatic assessment of ECG biomarkers from ECGs in sinus rhythm is able to predict the risk for AF providing a low-cost screening strategy for early detection of this pathology.

  • atrial fibrillation
  • biomarkers

Data availability statement

No data are available.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles