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Diagnostic Significance of a Small Q Wave in Precordial Leads V2 or V3


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Address for correspondence: Kenzo Hirao, M.D., Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan. Fax: +81-3-5803-0133; E-mail:


Background: An abnormal Q wave is usually defined as an initial depression of the QRS complex having a duration of ≥40 ms and amplitude exceeding 25% of the following R wave in any contiguous leads on the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). However, much smaller Q waves are sometimes recorded on the ECG. This study investigated the diagnostic value of the small Q wave recorded in precordial leads V2 or V3 on the ECG.

Methods: We investigated 807 consecutive patients who underwent coronary angiography. A small Q wave was defined as any negative deflection preceding the R wave in V2 or V3 with <40-ms duration and <0.5-mV amplitude, with or without a small (<0.1-mV) slurred, spiky fragmented initial QRS deflection before the Q wave (early fragmentation). ECG and coronary angiographic findings were analyzed.

Results: The small Q wave was present in 87 patients. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that presence of a small Q wave was a strong independent predictor of any coronary artery stenosis or left anterior descending artery (LAD) stenosis (odds ratio = 2.706, 2.902; P < 0.001, < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion: A small Q wave (<40-ms duration and <0.5-mV amplitude) in V2 or V3 with or without early fragmentation significantly predicted the presence of CAD and, especially, significant stenosis in the LAD.

Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol 2010;15(2):116–123