Predicting "heart age" using electrocardiography. Academic Article uri icon


  • Knowledge of a patient's cardiac age, or "heart age", could prove useful to both patients and physicians for better encouraging lifestyle changes potentially beneficial for cardiovascular health. This may be particularly true for patients who exhibit symptoms but who test negative for cardiac pathology. We developed a statistical model, using a Bayesian approach, that predicts an individual's heart age based on his/her electrocardiogram (ECG). The model is tailored to healthy individuals, with no known risk factors, who are at least 20 years old and for whom a resting ~5 min 12-lead ECG has been obtained. We evaluated the model using a database of ECGs from 776 such individuals. Secondarily, we also applied the model to other groups of individuals who had received 5-min ECGs, including 221 with risk factors for cardiac disease, 441 with overt cardiac disease diagnosed by clinical imaging tests, and a smaller group of highly endurance-trained athletes. Model-related heart age predictions in healthy non-athletes tended to center around body age, whereas about three-fourths of the subjects with risk factors and nearly all patients with proven heart diseases had higher predicted heart ages than true body ages. The model also predicted somewhat higher heart ages than body ages in a majority of highly endurance-trained athletes, potentially consistent with possible fibrotic or other anomalies recently noted in such individuals.

published proceedings

  • J Pers Med

altmetric score

  • 9.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Ball, R. L., Feiveson, A. H., Schlegel, T. T., Starc, V., & Dabney, A. R.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Ball, Robyn L||Feiveson, Alan H||Schlegel, Todd T||Starc, Vito||Dabney, Alan R

publication date

  • January 2014