Fragmented QRS as a Marker of Electrical Dyssynchrony to Predict Inter-Ventricular Conduction Defect by Subsequent Echocardiographic Assessment in Symptomatic Patients of Non-Ischemic Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Santosh Kumar Sinha, Kush Bhagat, Mohammad Asif, Karandeep Singh, Mohit Sachan, Vikas Mishra, Nasar Afdaali, Mukesh Jitendra Jha, Ashutosh Kumar, Shravan Singh, Rupesh Sinha, Dibbendhu Khanra, Ramesh Thakur, Chandra Mohan Varma, Vinay Krishna, Umeshwar Pandey


Background: Left ventricular (LV) dyssynchrony frequently occurs in patients with heart failure (HF). QRS >=120 ms is a surrogate marker of electrical dyssynchrony, which occurs in only 30% of HF patients. In contrary, in those with normal QRS (nQRS) duration, LV dyssynchrony has been reported in 20-50%. This study was carried out to investigate the role of fragmented QRS (fQRS) on the surface electrocardiography (ECG) as a marker of electrical dyssynchrony to predict the presence of significant intraventricular dyssynchrony (IVD) by subsequent echocardiographic assessment.

Methods: A total of 226 consecutive patients with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy were assessed for fQRS on surface ECG as defined by presence of an additional R wave (R prime), notching in nadir of the S wave, notching of R wave, or the presence of more than one R prime (fragmentation) in two contiguous leads corresponding to a major myocardial segment. Tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) was performed in the apical views (four-chamber, two-chamber and long-axis) to analyze all 12 segments at both basal and middle levels. Time-to-peak myocardial sustained systolic (Ts) velocities were calculated. Significant systolic IVD was defined as Ts-SD > 32.6 ms as known as "Yu index".

Result: Of the total patients, 112 had fQRS (49.5%), while 114 had nQRS (50.5%) with male dominance (M/F = 71:29). Majority of patients were in NYHA class II (n = 122, 54%) followed by class III (n = 83; 37%), and class IV (n = 21; 9%). There were no significant differences among both groups for baseline parameters except higher QRS duration (102.42 ± 14.05 vs. 91.10 ± 13.75 ms; P = 0.001), higher Yu index (35.64 ± 12.79 vs. 20.45 ± 11.17; P = 0.01) and number of patients with positive Yu index (78.6% vs. 21.1%; P = 0.04) in group with fQRS compared with group with nQRS. fQRS complexes had 84.61% sensitivity and 80.32% specificity with positive predictive value of 78.6% and negative predictive value of 85.9% to detect IVD. On detailed segmental analysis for fQRS distribution, inferior segment had maximum (37%), followed by anterior (23%), lateral (19%), inferior and lateral (11%), anterior and inferior (8%), and anterior and lateral (2%). Among 104 patients with significant dyssynchrony, 88 patients (84.6%) had fQRS in the dyssynchronic segment.

Conclusion: Fragmentation of QRS complex is an important predictor of electro-mechanical dyssynchrony. It is also helpful in localizing the dyssynchronous segment. In future, larger studies may be carried out to investigate the role of fQRS as a predictor of response to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in this subgroup of HF patients with narrow QRS.

Cardiol Res. 2016;7(4):140-145



Fragmented QRS; Electrical dyssynchrony; Inter-ventricular conduction defect; Yu index; Tissue Doppler imaging

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