Electrocardiographic early repolarization characteristics and clinical presentations in the young: a benign finding or worrisome marker for arrhythmias

Raya Safa, Ronald Thomas, Peter P. Karpawich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The early ECG repolarization QRS pattern (ERp), with J-point elevation of 0.1 mV in two contiguous inferior and/or lateral leads, can be associated with ventricular arrhythmias among adults. The significance of an ERp in the young is unknown. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of ERp among young patients (pts), describe and correlate the characteristics with clinical presentations and any arrhythmias. Methods: This was a 1 y retrospective review of ECGs obtained from patients referred specifically for documented arrhythmias, possible arrhythmia-related symptoms or sports clearance. ECGs were analyzed for ERp (J-point, ascending/horizontal patterns, location) and correlated with presenting complaints. Results: Of 301 patient ECGs, an ERp was found in 177 (59%), (pts age 11.7 ± 4.3 y); 54% male; 23% Caucasian. Of these, 6 pts had a family history of sudden cardiac death. Arrhythmias (72% atrial) occurred in 22 pts. Only 3 pts had ventricular arrhythmias (1 successfully ablated). The ascending ST segment and elevated J-point occurred in 77% and 51% of pts with and without arrhythmias respectively. In 73% of all pts, the ERp location was in inferior/lateral leads. Neither gender, ethnicity, large J-point, lead location, nor the combination of a horizontal ST segment with large J-point correlated with any arrhythmias. Conclusions: ERp, especially the diffuse ascending pattern, is common among the young, in those of European ethnicity, found equally in both genders, and with no apparent correlation with atrial nor ventricular arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalCongenital Heart Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • arrhythmias
  • early repolarization
  • sudden death
  • tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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