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Hunger strike is a common type of protest that is widely seen in prisons. Long term starvation causes many health problems. In this study electrocardiograms (ECG) of detainees and convicts proceeding on hunger strike are compared with those taken after strike.
Between September 2012-November 2012, 81 male (mean age 41±9.4 years) detainees and convicts on hunger strike approximately 45±9.6 days long were conducted in this study. 12-lead ECGs obtained on the last day of the starvation and 2 months after it were scanned, transferred to high-resolution computer screens and evaluated.
Avarage 6±3.7 kg loss was seen in 81 patients on hunger strike. In 81 ECGs evaluated on the last day of the starvation 16 (19.7%) early repolarization (inferior:10, lateral:5, inferolateral:1) and in those taken two months after the strike 4 (4.9%) early repolarization (inferior:3, lateral:1) (p<0.001) were deteremined. Significant difference was found in PR (157±75 ms vs. 153±23 ms, p:0.035) interval and QRS (95±73 vs. 92±11, p:0.001) duration whereas it could not be done in heart rate (p:0.068), cQT (p:0.325), QT dispertion (p:0.245) and in PR dispertion (p:0.812).
Previously, ER has been thought a sign of good health due to its being seen prevalent in athletes, younger persons, and at slower heart rates. Nevertheless, numerous recent reports have suggested a relationship between ER and an increased risk for arrhythmic death and idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. We present for the first time that long term starvation is related with ER, therefore hunger strike should be included in the list of conditions associated with it.