CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2021; 79(01): 15-21
DOI: 10.1590/0004-282X20200105

Simultaneous electrocardiogram during routine electroencephalogram: arrhythmia rates through the eyes of the cardiologist

Eletrocardiograma simultâneo durante eletroencefalograma de rotina: taxas de arritmia pelos olhos do cardiologista
1   Hacettepe University Medical School, Department of Neurology, Ankara, Turkey.
1   Hacettepe University Medical School, Department of Neurology, Ankara, Turkey.
2   Hacettepe University Medical School, Department of Cardiology, Ankara, Turkey.
1   Hacettepe University Medical School, Department of Neurology, Ankara, Turkey.
› Author Affiliations


Background: The importance of simultaneous 2-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) recording during routine electroencephalogram (EEG) has been reported several times on clinical grounds. Objective: To investigate arrhythmia rates detected by simultaneous 2-lead ECG in our patient sample undergoing routine EEG. Remarkably, we sought to assess the possible expansion of results with a more experienced interpretation of simultaneous ECG. Methods: Simultaneous 2-lead ECG recordings during routine EEG, performed between January and March, 2016, have been retrospectively analyzed by a cardiology specialist. In addition, EEG reports were screened with the keywords ‘arrhythmia, tachycardia, bradycardia, atrial fibrillation, extrasystole’ to evaluate the neurologist interpretation. Results: Overall, 478 routine EEG recordings were scanned. The mean age of the patients was 42.8±19.8 (16–95), with a sex ratio of 264/214 (F/M). In 80 (17%) patients, findings compatible with arrhythmia were identified on simultaneous ECG after a cardiologist's evaluation. The detected arrhythmia subtypes were: ventricular extrasystole (n=27; 5.6%), supraventricular extrasystole (n=23; 4.8%), tachycardia (n=9; 1.8%), prolonged QRS duration (n=7; 8.7%), atrial fibrillation (n=6; 1.2%), and block (n=6; 1.2%). On the other hand, keywords related to arrhythmia were present in 45 (9.4%) of EEG reports. The reported statements were tachycardia (3.3%), arrhythmia (2.5%), bradycardia (2.1%), and extrasystole (1.5%). Conclusions: A considerably high rate of arrhythmia cases was determined on simultaneous ECG during routine EEG after being interpreted by a cardiologist. However, the screening results of EEG reports revealed relatively low arrhythmia rates. These results suggest that the detection rates of ECG abnormalities during routine EEG may be potentially improved.


Introdução: A importância do registro simultâneo de eletrocardiograma (ECG) de duas derivações durante o eletroencefalograma (EEG) de rotina foi relatada várias vezes por motivos clínicos. Objetivos: Investigar as taxas de arritmias detectadas em ECG de duas derivações simultâneas em amostra de pacientes submetidos a EEG de rotina, para avaliar impacto nos resultados pela interpretação do ECG simultâneo por examinador experiente. Métodos: Registros simultâneos de ECG de duas derivações durante EEG de rotina realizados entre janeiro e março de 2016 foram analisados retrospectivamente por cardiologista. Adicionalmente, os relatórios de EEG foram selecionados com palavras-chave de ‘arritmia, taquicardia, bradicardia, fibrilação atrial, extrassístole’, para avaliar a interpretação dos neurologistas. Resultados: 478 registros de EEG de rotina foram digitalizados. A idade média dos pacientes foi de 42,8±19,8 [16–95] anos com uma proporção de sexo de 264/214 (F/M). Em 80 (17%) dos pacientes, achados compatíveis com arritmia no ECG simultâneo foram determinados após avaliação do cardiologista. Os subtipos de arritmia detectados foram extrassístole ventricular (n=27; 5,6%), extrassístole supraventricular (n=23; 4,8%), taquicardia (n=9; 1,8%), duração QRS prolongada (n=7; 8,7%), fibrilação atrial (n=6; 1,2%) e bloqueio (n=6; 1,2%), respectivamente. Por outro lado, palavras-chave relacionadas à arritmia foram citadas em 45 (9,4%) dos relatórios de EEG. As declarações relatadas foram taquicardia (3,3%), arritmia (2,5%), bradicardia (2,1%) e extrassístole (1,5%), respectivamente. Conclusões: Uma taxa consideravelmente alta de casos de arritmia foi determinada em ECG simultâneo durante EEG de rotina, após interpretação por cardiologista. No entanto, triagem dos relatórios de EEG revelaram taxas de arritmia relativamente baixas. Esses resultados sugerem que as taxas de detecção de anormalidades no ECG durante EEG de rotina podem ser melhoradas.

Authors’ contributions:

HO and SS: study design. VH: analyses of electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings during routine electroencephalogram (EEG). IT, SS and HO: reporting of routine EEG recordings. HO: data analysis. HO, IT, VK and SS: writing of the manuscript.

Publication History

Received: 26 February 2020

Accepted: 18 June 2020

Article published online:
01 June 2023

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