Ethnic differences in the ST segment of the electrocardiogram: A comparative study among six ethnic groups

Ishak A. Mansi, Ira S. Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Deviation of the ST segment of the electrocardiogram (ECG) may signify infarction or ischemia. Prior studies suggest that normal ECG patterns may differ among ethnic groups. We retrospectively reviewed the first thousand medical files of a multiethnic community, where all individuals shared similar living conditions. Only healthy adults, aged 15 to 60 years, were included. Along with age, the most common causes for exclusion were diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease. A total of 597 subjects (349 men) were included: 350 Saudi Arabians, 39 Filipinos, 95 Indians, 17 Sri-Lankans, and 57 Caucasians. Twenty men and one woman had an ECG pattern of early repolarization (ST segment elevation with upward concavity, notching on QRS, and large symmetrical T wave), with no difference in incidence among ethnic groups. ST segment elevation (2 mm in any of the leads V1-V4, or 1 mm in any of the other leads) without criteria of early repolarization occurred in 11.58%, 13.46%, 3.57%, 4.35%, 11.76%, 7.32% of Saudi, Indian, Jordanian, Filipino, Sri-Lankan, and Caucasian men, respectively (P = .61). Only one Jordanian and 2 Indian women had this pattern. However, Filipino men had higher median ST segment levels than others in leads V1 and V3. Among women, the median ST segment level was iso-electric in all leads in all ethnic groups. Only 3 subjects had ST segment depression > 1 mm. Significant ST segment elevation is common in normal healthy men but may not fulfill criteria for early repolarization; it has no ethnic predilection. ST segment elevation is uncommon in normal women. ST segment depression is a rare finding in healthy adults regardless of ethnic origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-544
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Caucasians
  • Electrocardiography
  • Ethnicity
  • Filipinos
  • Indians
  • Race
  • ST segment
  • Saudis
  • Sri-Lankans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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