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To assess the general cardiac health of inpatients in acute psychiatric units and to evaluate the practice of ECG use in this setting.
Overall cardiac risk is assessed using QRISK2. Clinically significant ECG abnormality detection by psychiatric teams are compared with same by cardiologist.
Ten percent of patients (n = 113) admitted to five acute psychiatric wards during a period of 13 months across three hospital sites, covering a population of 1.1 million, were randomly selected. Electronic health care records were used to collect all data, in the form of typed entries and scanned notes. An experienced cardiologist, blind to the psychiatrist assessments, performed ECG analysis. The QRISK2 online calculator was used to calculate 10-year cardiovascular risk as recommended by NIHR, UK.
A score of 10% or more indicates a need for further intervention to lower risk.13.5% of patients had a QRISK2 score of 10–20%, 5.2% had a score of 20–30%, and 1 patient had a QRISK2 score > 30%. In total, 19.7% had a QRISK2 of 10% or greater. A total of 2.9% had prolonged QTC interval (> 440 ms), with 2.9% having a borderline QTC (421–440). A total of 34.3% of ECGs were identified by the ward doctors as abnormal, with action being taken on 41.6% of these abnormal ECGs. Cardiologist analysis identified 57.1% of ECGs with abnormalities of potential clinical significance.
One in five patients admitted to psychiatry wards have poor cardiac health requiring interventions. Though QTC interval prolongation is rare, half of patients may have abnormal ECGs that require further analysis.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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