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Comparison of in-hospital versus 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography for detection of ventricular premature complexes in mature Boxers

Kathryn M. Meurs DVM, PhD, DACVIM1, Alan W. Spier DVM2, Nicola A. Wright BS3, and Robert L. Hamlin DVM, PhD, DACVIM4
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary, Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary, Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary, Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary, Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of in-hospital electrocardiography (ECG) for detection of ventricular premature complexes (VPC), compared with 24-hour ambulatory ECG.

Design—Original study.

Animals—188 Boxers > 9 months old; 31 had a history of syncope, and 157 were healthy (no history of syncope).

Procedure—In-hospital ECG was performed on all Boxers for at least 2 minutes. Within 7 days after the in-hospital ECG was completed, 24-hour ambulatory ECG was performed.

Results—The specificity of in-hospital ECG was 100% for the detection of at least 50 VPC in a 24-hour period in dogs with syncope and 93% in healthy dogs. In-hospital ECG had poor sensitivity, although sensitivity increased as the number of VPC per 24 hours increased.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Use of in-hospital ECG is highly specific for detection of at least 50 VPC during a 24-hour period. However, in-hospital ECG is insensitive, and a lack of VPC does not suggest that the dog does not have a substantial number of VPC during that same period. The use of in-hospital ECG appears to be inadequate for screening purposes and therapeutic evaluations in mature Boxers with ventricular arrhythmic disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:222–224)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of in-hospital electrocardiography (ECG) for detection of ventricular premature complexes (VPC), compared with 24-hour ambulatory ECG.

Design—Original study.

Animals—188 Boxers > 9 months old; 31 had a history of syncope, and 157 were healthy (no history of syncope).

Procedure—In-hospital ECG was performed on all Boxers for at least 2 minutes. Within 7 days after the in-hospital ECG was completed, 24-hour ambulatory ECG was performed.

Results—The specificity of in-hospital ECG was 100% for the detection of at least 50 VPC in a 24-hour period in dogs with syncope and 93% in healthy dogs. In-hospital ECG had poor sensitivity, although sensitivity increased as the number of VPC per 24 hours increased.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Use of in-hospital ECG is highly specific for detection of at least 50 VPC during a 24-hour period. However, in-hospital ECG is insensitive, and a lack of VPC does not suggest that the dog does not have a substantial number of VPC during that same period. The use of in-hospital ECG appears to be inadequate for screening purposes and therapeutic evaluations in mature Boxers with ventricular arrhythmic disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:222–224)