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Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), predominantly emphysema, causes several thoracic anatomical and hemodynamic changes which may cause changes in various electrocardiographic parameters. A 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), which is often a part of routine evaluation in most clinical settings, may serve as a useful screening modality for diagnosis of COPD or emphysema. Our current article aims to provide a comprehensive review of the electrocardiographic changes encountered in COPD/emphysema utilizing published PubMed and Medline literature database. Several important ECG changes are present in COPD/emphysema and may serve as a good diagnostic tool. Verticalization of Pvector, changes in QRS duration, pattern recognition of precordial R-wave progression and axial shifts can be considered some of the most valuable markers among other changes. In conclusion, 12-lead surface electrocardiogram can serve as a valuable tool for the diagnosis of COPD and/or emphysema. An appropriate knowledge of these ECG changes can not only help in the diagnosis but can also immensely help in an appropriate clinical management of these patients.


This work was originally published in World Journal of Cardiology, available at

This work is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license.



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