AIMS Asymptomatic cardiac disease is present in a large proportion of individuals with generalised cardiovascular disease (CVD). Rural areas in Australia have a lack of health care services with the facilities to undertake a comprehensive community screening project. This study aimed to assess a nurse-led health screening initiative to determine the prevalence and incidence of asymptomatic heart disease using a custom ECG classification system. METHODS 508 people with and without a known history of cardiovascular disease were recruited through the local media and underwent a 12-lead ECG assessment. Using the ECG recordings, individuals were categorised into five classes based on necessity for review and treatment. RESULTS 14% of study participants reported an established history of CVD. 34% of attendees were identified as requiring referral to a general practitioner. These individuals underwent either by-pass surgery, commenced on cardiac medication or were advised on lifestyle changes. However, several more had their referral based on ECG assessment confirmed as appropriate but required no intervention. 4% of referrals were deemed not necessary by general practitioners. CONCLUSIONS The 12-lead ECG classification model as part of nurse-led CVD screening in a rural community, was shown to be a useful guide for referral of individuals to general practitioners for follow up. This model has the potential to improve quality of life by appropriate early referral to primary care practitioners, for follow-up.


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