Minor isolated Q waves and cardiovascular events in the MESA study

Yabing Li, Farah Z. Dawood, Haiying Chen, Aditya Jain, Joseph A. Walsh, Alvaro Alonso, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, Elsayed Z. Soliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The significance of minor isolated Q waves in the resting electrocardiograms (ECGs) of apparently healthy individuals is unknown. Objective: To examine the association between minor isolated Q waves and incident cardiovascular disease events in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Design: This analysis included 6551 MESA participants (38% white, 28% black, 22% Hispanic, 12% Chinese) who were free of cardiovascular disease at enrollment. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the association between minor isolated Q waves defined by the Minnesota ECG Classification with adjudicated incident cardiovascular events. Results: During up to 7.8 years of follow-up, 423 events occurred, with a rate of 10.7 events per 1000 person-years. A significant interaction between minor isolated Q waves and race/ethnicity was observed (P =.030). In models stratified by race/ethnicity and adjusted for demographics, socioeconomic status, common cardiovascular risk factors, and other ECG abnormalities, presence of isolated minor Q waves was significantly associated with incident cardiovascular events in Hispanics (hazard ratio [HR] 2.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.42-4.82), but not in whites (HR 0.65; 95% CI, 0.32-1.33) or blacks (HR 1.46; 95% CI, 0.74-2.89). Despite the statistically significant association in the Chinese population, the small number of events precluded solid conclusions in this race/ethnicity. Conclusion: The prognostic significance of minor isolated Q waves varies across races/ethnicities; they carry a high risk for future cardiovascular events in apparently healthy Hispanics, but not in whites or blacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450.e9-450.e16
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study was supported by contracts N01-HC-95159 through N01-HC-95169 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


  • Electrocardiography
  • MESA
  • Minor isolated Q waves
  • Race/ethnicity


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