Alternans in QRS Amplitude During Ventricular Tachycardia


  • Supported in part by a grant from the Working Group of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology of the Swiss Society of Cardiology.

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MAURY, P., et al.: Alternans in QRS Amplitude During Ventricular Tachycardia. Although the value of T wave alternans as an index of electrical instability has been extensively investigated, little is known about QRS alternans during VT. Intracardiac electrograms of 111 episodes of spontaneous monomorphic regular VT retrieved from implantable defibrillators in 25 patients were retrospectively selected. Three beat series, representing the total amplitudes and amplitudes from baseline to summit and from baseline to lower point of 16 or 32 successive QRS complexes before deliverance of electrical therapy were generated for each episode. Spectral analysis was then performed using the fast Fourrier transform. VT was considered as alternans if the magnitude of the spectral power at the 0.5-cycle/beat frequency was greater than the mean ± 3 SD of the noise in at least one of the three spectral curves. QRS alternans was present in 23 (20%) of 111 episodes and in 9 (36%) of 25 patients. Alternans was not related to the VT cycle length, QRS duration, QRS amplitude, signal amplification, nor to clinical variables. Alternans was more frequently detected in unipolar configuration and when a higher number of complexes was included in analysis. Failure of antitachycardia pacing was more frequent in case of alternans VT (50% vs 75% success in non-alternans VT, P = 0.05). Spontaneous termination before deliverance of therapy occurred in 16 nonalternans VT but never in alternans episodes (P = 0.02). Alternans in QRS amplitude is a relatively common finding during VT and could be associated with failure of antitachycardia pacing and lack of spontaneous termination. Lower efficacy of electrical therapies in case of QRS alternans must be confirmed in a way to improve the effectiveness of antitachycardia pacing.