Beat-to-beat three-dimensional ECG variability predicts ventricular arrhythmia in ICD recipients

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30 Scopus citations


Background Methodological difficulties associated with QT measurements prompt the search for new electrocardiographic markers of repolarization heterogeneity. Objective We hypothesized that beat-to-beat 3-dimensional vectorcardiogram variability predicts ventricular arrhythmia (VA) in patients with structural heart disease, left ventricular systolic dysfunction, and implanted implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). Methods Baseline orthogonal electrocardiograms were recorded in 414 patients with structural heart disease (mean age 59.4 ± 12.0; 280 white [68%] and 134 black [32%]) at rest before implantation of ICD for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death. R and T peaks of 30 consecutive sinus beats were plotted in 3 dimensions to form an R peaks cloud and a T peaks cloud. The volume of the peaks cloud was calculated as the volume within the convex hull. Patients were followed up for at least 6 months; sustained VA with appropriate ICD therapies served as an end point. Results During a mean follow-up time of 18.4 ± 12.5 months, 61 of the 414 patients (14.73% or 9.6% per person-year of follow-up) experienced sustained VA with appropriate ICD therapies: 41 of them were white and 20 were black. In the multivariate Cox model that included inducibility of VA and use of beta-blockers, the highest tertile of T/R peaks cloud volume ratio significantly predicted VA (hazard ratio 1.68, 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 2.80; P = .046) in all patients. T peaks cloud volume and T/R peaks cloud volume ratio were significantly smaller in black subjects (median 0.09 [interquartile range 0.04 to 0.15] vs. median 0.11 [interquartile range 0.06 to 0.22], P = .002). Conclusion A relatively large T peaks cloud volume is associated with increased risk of VA in patients with structural heart disease and systolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1606-1613
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Repolarization
  • Risk stratification
  • Variability
  • Vectorcardiogram
  • Ventricular arrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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