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Circulation. 2011 Mar 15;123(10):1052-60. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.986364. Epub 2011 Feb 28.

Intracardiac electrogram T-wave alternans/variability increases before spontaneous ventricular tachyarrhythmias in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients: a prospective, multi-center study.

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  • 1Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers, 8635 W Third St, Ste 1190-W, Los Angeles, CA 90048. swerdlow@ucla.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

T-wave alternans (TWA) increases before ventricular tachycardia (VT) or fibrillation (VF), suggesting that it may warn of VT/VF in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients. Recently, we described a method for measuring alternans and nonalternans variability (TWA/V) from electrograms (EGMs) stored in implantable cardioverter-defibrillators before VT/VF. The goal of this prospective, multicenter study was to determine whether EGM TWA/V was greater before VT/VF than at baseline.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We enrolled 63 implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients. TWA/V was computed from stored EGMs before spontaneous VT/VF and from sequential windows of 8 pairs of beats using 4 different control recordings: baseline rhythm, rapid pacing at 105 bpm, segments of ambulatory Holter EGMs matched to the time of VT/VF episodes, and EGMs before spontaneous supraventricular tachycardia. During follow-up, 28 patients had 166 episodes of VT/VF. TWA/V was greater before VT/VF (62.9 ± 3.1 μV; n = 28) than during baseline rhythm (12.8 ± 1.8 μV; P < 0.0001; n = 62), during rapid pacing (14.5 ± 2.0 μV; P < 0.0001; n = 52), before supraventricular tachycardia (27.5 ± 6.1 μV; P < 0.0001; n = 9), or during time-matched ambulatory controls (12.3 ± 3.5 μV; P < 0.0001; n = 16). By logistic regression, the odds of VT/VF increased by a factor of 2.2 for each 10-μV increment in TWA/V (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

In implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients, EGM TWA/V is greater before spontaneous VT/VF than in control recordings. Future implantable cardioverter-defibrillators that measure EGM TWA/V continuously may warn patients and initiate pacing therapies to prevent VT/VF.

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