Early repolarization patterns associated with increased arrhythmic risk are common in young non-Caucasian Australian males and not influenced by athletic status

Maria J. Brosnan, Saurabh Kumar, Andre Lagerche, Alex Brown, Simon Stewart, Jonathan M. Kalman, David L. Prior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background Early repolarization (ER) with a horizontal ST segment (ST-h) and high-amplitude J waves in the inferior leads is associated with an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmic death. The effect of ethnicity and athletic status on this increased-risk ER pattern has not been established. Aboriginal Australian/Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Islander/Maori (non-Caucasian [non-C]) subjects are well represented in Australian sport; however, the patterns and prevalence of ER in these populations are unknown. Objective The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence and effect of athletic activity on ER patterns in young non-C and Caucasian (C) subjects. Methods Twelve-lead ECGs of 726 male athletes (23.8% non-C) and 170 male controls (45.9% non-C) aged 16-40 years were analyzed for the presence of ER, defined as J-point elevation (J wave, QRS slur, or discrete ST elevation) ≥0.1 mV in ≥2 inferior (II, III, aVF) or lateral (I, aVL,V4-V6) leads. ST morphology was coded as horizontal (ST-h) or ascending (ST-a). "Increased-risk ER" was defined as inferior ER with ST-h and J waves >2 mV. Results Regardless of athletic status, ER and increased-risk ER were more prevalent in non-C than in C subjects (53.8% vs 32% and 7.6% vs 1.2%, respectively, P <.0001). Whereas lower heart rate, larger QRS voltage, and shorter QRS duration were predictors of ER, non-C ethnicity was the only independent predictor of increased-risk ER (odds ratio 17.621, 95% confidence interval 4.98-62.346, P <.0001). Conclusion ER patterns associated with increased arrhythmic risk are more common in young non-C than C subjects and were not influenced by athletic status. The long-term clinical significance of ER in these populations is yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1576-1583
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Athlete
  • Early repolarization
  • Ethnicity
  • Indigenous Australian
  • Ventricular fibrillation

Cite this