Background: Electrocardiographic (ECG) findings are known to differ by race, however, systematic comparisons of findings between eastern and western countries are rare. Objective: To compare the ECG findings and associated coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors between Taiwan Chinese and US White adults aged ≧ 40 years. Methods: We compared the prevalence rate of Minnesota Code criteria based ECG findings and associated CHD risk factors by using data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT, 1993-1996). Results: Examining all the ECG findings collectively, we observed a higher prevalence of major Minnesota Code findings in Taiwan Chinese women than in US White women (15.0% vs. 10.5%), particularly ST segment depression (5.4% vs. 2.4%) and T wave abnormalities (10.8% vs. 4.8%). The prevalence of major Minnesota Code findings was similar in both Taiwan Chinese and US White men (22.7% vs. 19.6%). Taiwan Chinese men had a higher prevalence of ST segment elevation (13.7% vs. 0.9%). Taiwan Chinese also had a higher prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy with repolarization change than US Whites in both sexes (2.7% vs. 1.4% for men, 4.3% vs. 1.3% for women). Taiwan Chinese had more favorable CHD risk factor profiles than US Whites, including lipid profile, obesity, central obesity, and smoking status. The prevalence of hypertension was similar between the two groups, however, a lower percentage of Taiwan Chinese received treatment. Taiwan Chinese men had a lower prevalence of diabetes mellitus than US White men, whereas Taiwan Chinese women had a higher prevalence than US White women. Conclusion: These results suggest that substantial differences in ECG findings exist between Taiwan Chinese and US Whites which cannot be entirely explained by CHD risk factors alone.
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