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J. Pers. Med. 2014, 4(1), 65-78; doi:10.3390/jpm4010065

Predicting “Heart Age” Using Electrocardiography

1,* , 2
1 The Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA 2 Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Division, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA 3 Institute of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia 4 Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University, 3143 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2013 / Revised: 4 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 7 March 2014
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Knowledge of a patient’s cardiac age, or “heart age”, could prove useful to both patients and physicians for better encouraging lifestyle changes potentially beneficial for cardiovascular health. This may be particularly true for patients who exhibit symptoms but who test negative for cardiac pathology. We developed a statistical model, using a Bayesian approach, that predicts an individual’s heart age based on his/her electrocardiogram (ECG). The model is tailored to healthy individuals, with no known risk factors, who are at least 20 years old and for whom a resting ~5 min 12-lead ECG has been obtained. We evaluated the model using a database of ECGs from 776 such individuals. Secondarily, we also applied the model to other groups of individuals who had received 5-min ECGs, including 221 with risk factors for cardiac disease, 441 with overt cardiac disease diagnosed by clinical imaging tests, and a smaller group of highly endurance-trained athletes. Model-related heart age predictions in healthy non-athletes tended to center around body age, whereas about three-fourths of the subjects with risk factors and nearly all patients with proven heart diseases had higher predicted heart ages than true body ages. The model also predicted somewhat higher heart ages than body ages in a majority of highly endurance-trained athletes, potentially consistent with possible fibrotic or other anomalies recently noted in such individuals.
Keywords: cardiology; personalized medicine; electrocardiogram; heart age; Bayesian statistics cardiology; personalized medicine; electrocardiogram; heart age; Bayesian statistics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ball, R.L.; Feiveson, A.H.; Schlegel, T.T.; Starc, V.; Dabney, A.R. Predicting “Heart Age” Using Electrocardiography. J. Pers. Med. 2014, 4, 65-78.

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