Behavior of late potentials on the body surface during programmed ventricular stimulation

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Objectives. This study sought to evaluate the behavior of late potentials on the body surface by signal averaging during programmed stimulation and to correlate the findings with the cycle length of induced ventricular tachycardia. Background. Clinically relevant late potentials may be concealed within the QRS complex and may be missed by the conventional signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAECG). In contrast, some late potentials may arise from dead-end pathways or pathways not capable of supporting sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT). It has been shown that durations of late potentials in sinus rhythm correlate poorly with VT cycle length. Methods. Signal-averaged electrocardiography during sinus rhythm, right ventricular pacing (S1) and introduction of a right ventricular extrastimulus (S2) was performed in 95 patients: 11 patients with a structurally normal heart and no inducible VT (Group 1); 44 with a previous myocardial infarction (MI) and no inducible monomorphic VT (Group II); and 40 with a previous MI and inducible monomorphic VT (Group III). Results. The best subset of SAECG variables and the best cut points for each variable to differentiate between patients with and without VT were first established for each rhythm studied. Total duration of the filtered QRS complex (QRSD) was found to be the only independent predictor of inducibility of VT. When late potentials were defined for these criteria (QRSD ≤ 113, ≤ 178 and ≤ 168 ms for the SAECG during sinus rhythm, S1 and S2, respectively),there was no difference in the incidence of false positive (16% vs. 18%) or false negative (30% vs. 26%) late potentials between sinus rhythm and S1. During S2, there were significantly fewer false positive late potentials (11% vs. 16%) and fewer false negative late potentials (17% vs. 30%) than with sinus rhythm. Compared with sinus rhythm, 31% of the false positive late potentials detected during sinus rhythm were lost, whereas 43% of the false negative late potentials became detectable after S2, resulting in improved sensitivity (83% vs. 70%), specificity (89% vs. 84%) and predictive accuracy (86% vs. 77%, p < 0.05). Among the patients with VT, QRSD during S2 achieved the best correlation with VT cycle length (r = 0.74) and was the only independent predictor of VT cycle length when all SAECG variables were considered. Conclusions. Late potentials revealed by ventricular extrastimuli but concealed during sinus rhythm may be clinically relevant and may explain some of the false negative late potentials and reduced sensitivity of the conventional SAECG in predicting VT. In contrast, those late potentials that are detected during sinus rhythm but lost after ventricular extrastimuli are often clinically irrelevant and may account for the false positive late potentials and reduced specificity of the conventional SAECG.




Ho, D. S. W., Daly, M., Richards, D. A. B., Uther, J. B., & Ross, D. L. (1996). Behavior of late potentials on the body surface during programmed ventricular stimulation. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 28(5), 1283–1291.

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