Usefulness of Fragmented QRS on a 12-Lead Electrocardiogram in Acute Coronary Syndrome for Predicting Mortality

Mithilesh Das, Mark A. Michael, Hussam Suradi, Jonathan Peng, Anjan Sinha, Changyu Shen, Jo Mahenthiran, Richard Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Electrocardiographic signs of a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) are nonspecific, and therefore the diagnosis of NSTEMI during acute coronary syndromes (ACS) depends mainly on cardiac biomarker levels. Fragmented QRS (fQRS) represents myocardial conduction abnormalities due to myocardial infarction (MI) scars in patients with coronary artery disease. However, the time of appearance of fQRS during ACS has not been investigated. It was postulated that in patients with ACS, fQRS on 12-lead electrocardiography occurs within 48 hours of presentation with NSTEMI as well as ST elevation MI and that fQRS predicts mortality. Serial electrocardiograms from 896 patients with ACS (mean age 62 ± 11 years, 98% men) who underwent cardiac catheterization were studied. Four hundred forty-one patients had MIs, including 337 patients with NSTEMIs, and 455 patients had unstable angina (the control group). Serial electrocardiograms were obtained every 6 to 8 hours during the first 24 hours after the diagnosis of MI and the next day (<48 hours). Fragmented QRS on 12-lead electrocardiography was defined by the presence of single or multiple notches in the R or S wave, without a typical bundle branch block, in ≥2 contiguous leads in 1 of the major coronary artery territories. Fragmented QRS developed in 224 patients (51%) in the MI group and only 17 (3.7%) in the control group (p <0.001). New Q waves developed in 122 (28%), 76 (23%), and 2 (0.4%) patients in the MI, NSTEMI, and control groups, respectively. The sensitivity values of fQRS for ST elevation MI and NSTEMI were 55% and 50%, respectively. The specificity of fQRS was 96%. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that patients with fQRS had significantly decreased times to death compared to those without fQRS. Fragmented QRS, T-wave inversion, and ST depression were independent predictors of mortality during a mean follow-up period of 34 ± 16 months. In conclusion, fQRS on 12-lead electrocardiography is a moderately sensitive but highly specific sign for ST elevation MI and NSTEMI. Fragmented QRS is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with ACS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1631-1637
Number of pages7
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Volume104
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2009

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Acute Coronary Syndrome
Electrocardiography
Mortality
Myocardial Infarction
Control Groups
Lead
Bundle-Branch Block
Unstable Angina
Kaplan-Meier Estimate
Cardiac Catheterization
Survival Analysis
Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction
Cicatrix
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Vessels
Biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Usefulness of Fragmented QRS on a 12-Lead Electrocardiogram in Acute Coronary Syndrome for Predicting Mortality. / Das, Mithilesh; Michael, Mark A.; Suradi, Hussam; Peng, Jonathan; Sinha, Anjan; Shen, Changyu; Mahenthiran, Jo; Kovacs, Richard.

In: The American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 104, No. 12, 15.12.2009, p. 1631-1637.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Das, Mithilesh ; Michael, Mark A. ; Suradi, Hussam ; Peng, Jonathan ; Sinha, Anjan ; Shen, Changyu ; Mahenthiran, Jo ; Kovacs, Richard. / Usefulness of Fragmented QRS on a 12-Lead Electrocardiogram in Acute Coronary Syndrome for Predicting Mortality. In: The American Journal of Cardiology. 2009 ; Vol. 104, No. 12. pp. 1631-1637.
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N2 - Electrocardiographic signs of a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) are nonspecific, and therefore the diagnosis of NSTEMI during acute coronary syndromes (ACS) depends mainly on cardiac biomarker levels. Fragmented QRS (fQRS) represents myocardial conduction abnormalities due to myocardial infarction (MI) scars in patients with coronary artery disease. However, the time of appearance of fQRS during ACS has not been investigated. It was postulated that in patients with ACS, fQRS on 12-lead electrocardiography occurs within 48 hours of presentation with NSTEMI as well as ST elevation MI and that fQRS predicts mortality. Serial electrocardiograms from 896 patients with ACS (mean age 62 ± 11 years, 98% men) who underwent cardiac catheterization were studied. Four hundred forty-one patients had MIs, including 337 patients with NSTEMIs, and 455 patients had unstable angina (the control group). Serial electrocardiograms were obtained every 6 to 8 hours during the first 24 hours after the diagnosis of MI and the next day (<48 hours). Fragmented QRS on 12-lead electrocardiography was defined by the presence of single or multiple notches in the R or S wave, without a typical bundle branch block, in ≥2 contiguous leads in 1 of the major coronary artery territories. Fragmented QRS developed in 224 patients (51%) in the MI group and only 17 (3.7%) in the control group (p <0.001). New Q waves developed in 122 (28%), 76 (23%), and 2 (0.4%) patients in the MI, NSTEMI, and control groups, respectively. The sensitivity values of fQRS for ST elevation MI and NSTEMI were 55% and 50%, respectively. The specificity of fQRS was 96%. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that patients with fQRS had significantly decreased times to death compared to those without fQRS. Fragmented QRS, T-wave inversion, and ST depression were independent predictors of mortality during a mean follow-up period of 34 ± 16 months. In conclusion, fQRS on 12-lead electrocardiography is a moderately sensitive but highly specific sign for ST elevation MI and NSTEMI. Fragmented QRS is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with ACS.

AB - Electrocardiographic signs of a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) are nonspecific, and therefore the diagnosis of NSTEMI during acute coronary syndromes (ACS) depends mainly on cardiac biomarker levels. Fragmented QRS (fQRS) represents myocardial conduction abnormalities due to myocardial infarction (MI) scars in patients with coronary artery disease. However, the time of appearance of fQRS during ACS has not been investigated. It was postulated that in patients with ACS, fQRS on 12-lead electrocardiography occurs within 48 hours of presentation with NSTEMI as well as ST elevation MI and that fQRS predicts mortality. Serial electrocardiograms from 896 patients with ACS (mean age 62 ± 11 years, 98% men) who underwent cardiac catheterization were studied. Four hundred forty-one patients had MIs, including 337 patients with NSTEMIs, and 455 patients had unstable angina (the control group). Serial electrocardiograms were obtained every 6 to 8 hours during the first 24 hours after the diagnosis of MI and the next day (<48 hours). Fragmented QRS on 12-lead electrocardiography was defined by the presence of single or multiple notches in the R or S wave, without a typical bundle branch block, in ≥2 contiguous leads in 1 of the major coronary artery territories. Fragmented QRS developed in 224 patients (51%) in the MI group and only 17 (3.7%) in the control group (p <0.001). New Q waves developed in 122 (28%), 76 (23%), and 2 (0.4%) patients in the MI, NSTEMI, and control groups, respectively. The sensitivity values of fQRS for ST elevation MI and NSTEMI were 55% and 50%, respectively. The specificity of fQRS was 96%. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that patients with fQRS had significantly decreased times to death compared to those without fQRS. Fragmented QRS, T-wave inversion, and ST depression were independent predictors of mortality during a mean follow-up period of 34 ± 16 months. In conclusion, fQRS on 12-lead electrocardiography is a moderately sensitive but highly specific sign for ST elevation MI and NSTEMI. Fragmented QRS is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with ACS.

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