Background and Purpose-In previous studies, isolated nonspecific ST-segment and T-wave abnormalities (NSSTTAs), a common finding on ECGs, were associated with greater risk for incident coronary artery disease. Their association with incident stroke remains unclear. Methods-The REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study is a population-based, longitudinal study of 30 239 white and black adults enrolled from 2003 to 2007 in the United States. NSSTTAs were defined from baseline ECG using the standards of Minnesota ECG Classification (Minnesota codes 4-3, 4-4, 5-3, or 5-4). Participants with prior stroke, coronary heart disease, and major and minor ECG abnormalities other than NSSTTAs were excluded from analysis. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine calculate hazard ratios of incident ischemic stroke by presence of baseline NSSTTAs. Results-Among 14 077 participants, 3111 (22.1%) had NSSTTAs at baseline. With a median of 9.6 years follow-up, 106 (3.4%) with NSSTTAs had ischemic stroke compared with 258 (2.4%) without NSSTTAs. The age-adjusted incidence rates (per 1000 person-years) of stroke were 2.93 in those with NSSTTAs and 2.19 in those without them. Adjusting for baseline age, sex, race, geographic location, and education level, isolated NSSTTAs were associated with a 32% higher risk of ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 1.32 [95% CI, 1.05-1.67]). With additional adjustment for stroke risk factors, the risk of stroke was increased 27% (hazard ratio, 1.27 [95% CI, 1.00-1.62]) and did not differ by age, race, or sex. Conclusions-Presence of NSSTTAs in persons with an otherwise normal ECG was associated with a 27% increased risk of future ischemic stroke.
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