Roudijk RW, Bosman LP, van der Heijden JF, de Bakker JMT, Hauer RNW, van Tintelen JP, Asselbergs FW, Te Riele ASJM, Loh P.

Journal of Clinical Medicine (2020) pg 545


Fragmented QRS complexes (fQRS) are common in patients with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM). A new method of fQRS quantification may aid early disease detection in pathogenic variant carriers and assessment of prognosis in patients with early stage ACM. Patients with definite ACM (n = 221, 66%), carriers of a pathogenic ACM-associated variant without a definite ACM diagnosis (n = 57, 17%) and control subjects (n = 58, 17%) were included. Quantitative fQRS (Q-fQRS) was defined as the total amount of deflections in the QRS complex in all 12 electrocardiography (ECG) leads. Q-fQRS was scored by a single observer and reproducibility was determined by three independent observers. Q-fQRS count was feasible with acceptable intra- and inter-observer agreement. Q-fQRS count is significantly higher in patients with definite ACM (54 ± 15) and pathogenic variant carriers (55 ± 10) compared to controls (35 ± 5) (p < 0.001). In patients with ACM, Q-fQRS was not associated with sustained ventricular arrhythmia (p = 0.701) at baseline or during follow-up (p = 0.335). Both definite ACM patients and pathogenic variant carriers not fulfilling ACM diagnosis have a higher Q-fQRS than controls. This may indicate that increased Q-fQRS is an early sign of disease penetrance. In concealed and early stages of ACM the role of Q-fQRS for risk stratification is limited.