Vol 22, No 2 (2015)
Original articles
Published online: 2015-04-28

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High-frequency QRS analysis compared to conventional ST-segment analysis in patients with chest pain and normal ECG referred for exercise tolerance test

Alberto Conti, Andrea Alesi, Giovanna Aspesi, Niccolò De Bernardis, Simone Bianchi, Alessandro Coppa, Chiara Donnini, Caterina Grifoni, Alessandro Becucci, Claudia Casula
DOI: 10.5603/CJ.a2015.0001
Pubmed: 25588537
Cardiol J 2015;22(2):141-149.


Background: The novel analysis of high-frequency QRS components (HFQRS-analysis) has been proposed in patients with chest pain (CP) and normal electrocardiography (ECG) referred for exercise tolerance test (ex-ECG). The aim of the study was to compare the diagnostic value of ex-ECG with ex-HFQRS-analysis.

Methods: Patients with CP and normal ECG, troponin, and echocardiography were consid­ered. All patients underwent ex-ECG for conventional ST-segment-analysis and ex-HFQRS-analysis. A decrease ≥ 50% of the HFQRS signal intensity recorded in at least 2 contiguous leads was considered an index of ischemia, as ST-segment depression ≥ 2 mm or ≥ 1 mm and CP on ex-ECG. Exclusion criteria were: QRS duration ≥ 120 ms and inability to exercise. End-point: The composite of coronary stenosis ≥ 70% or acute coronary syndrome, revascu­larization, cardiovascular death at 3-month follow-up.

Results: Three-hundred thirty-seven patients were enrolled (age 60 ± 15 years). The percent­age of age-adjusted maximal predicted heart rate was 89 ± 10 beat per minute and the maximal systolic blood pressure was 169 ± 23 mm Hg. Nineteen patients achieved the end-point. In multivariate analysis, both ex-ECG and ex-HFQRS were predictors of the end-point. The ex-HFQRS-analysis showed higher sensitivity (63% vs. 26%; p < 0.05), lower specificity (68% vs. 95%; p < 0.001), and comparable negative predictive value (97% vs. 96%; p = 0.502) when compared to ex-ECG-analysis. Receiver operator characteristics analysis showed the incremental diagnostic value of HFQRS (area: 0.655, 95% CI 0.60–0.71) over conventional ex-ECG (0.608, CI 0.55–0.66) and CP score (0.530, CI 0.48–0.59), however without statistical significance in pairwise comparison by C-statistic.

Conclusions: In patients with CP submitted to ex-ECG, the novel ex-HFQRS-analysis shows a valuable incremental diagnostic value over ST-segment-analysis.