QRS Fragmentation and the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in MADIT II


  • Andrew Brenyo and Grzegorz Pietrasik contributed equally to original concept and to authorship of this investigation.

  • The MADIT II study was supported by a research grant from Boston Scientific, St. Paul, Minnesota, to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. No disclosures.

Andrew Brenyo, M.D., Heart Research Follow-up Program, Cardiology Division, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. E-mail: andrew_brenyo@urmc.rochester.edu


QRS Fragmentation and the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in MADIT II.

Background: QRS fragmentation (fQRS) has been reported as a useful ECG parameter in predicting mortality in high-risk postinfarction patients. Its prognostic value for sudden cardiac death (SCD) and ventricular arrhythmias in ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) remains unknown.

Methods: MADIT II enrollment 12-lead ECGs were analyzed for fQRS defined as RSR’ patterns (≥1 R’ or notching of S or R wave) in patients with a normal QRS duration and >2 notches on the R or S wave in patients with abnormal QRS duration, present in 2 contiguous leads. Exclusion criteria included a paced rhythm and an uninterpretable or incomplete ECG. Study endpoints included SCD, SCD or appropriate implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) shock, and total mortality (TM).

Results: Of the 1,232 ECGs reviewed, 1,040 were of suitable quality for fQRS analysis. QRS fragmentation was found in 33% of patients in any leads, in 10% of patients in anterior leads, in 8% of patients in lateral leads and in 21% of patients in inferior leads. Anterior and lateral location of QRS fragmentation was not associated with follow-up events. Inferior location of fQRS was found to be predictive of SCD/ICD shock (hazard ratio [HR] 1.46, P = 0.032), SCD (HR 2.05, P = 0.007), and TM (HR 1.44, P = 0.036). This association was driven primarily by the increase in events found in LBBB patients: SCD/ICD shock (HR 2.05, P = 0.046), SCD (HR 4.24, P = 0.002), and TM (HR 2.82, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Fragmented QRS, especially identified in inferior leads, is predictive of SCD, SCD or appropriate ICD shock, and all-cause mortality in patients with ICM. Identifying inferior fQRS in patients with LBBB is of particular prognostic significance and should reinforce the use of ICD therapy in this high-risk group. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 23, pp. 1343-1348, December 2012)