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  • Author: Daniela Stefana Gologanu x
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Role of signal-averaged electrocardiography and ventricular late potentials in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk for cardiac arrhythmias. Ventricular late potentials (VLP) on signal-averaged electrocardiography (SAECG) are associated with an increased risk for malignant ventricular arrhythmias. Our aim is to investigate the modifications of SAECG parameters and the presence of VLP as possible indicators of proarrhythmic substrate in patients with COPD. We prospectively enrolled 41 consecutive patients in the COPD group and 63 patients without any history of pulmonary disease, matched for age and hypertension history, in the control group. Pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gases, echocardiography, 24-hour Holter monitoring and SAECG were performed. We measured total filtered QRS duration (QRSf), duration of high frequency, low-amplitude signals < 40 V (HFLA40), and root mean square voltage in the last 40 ms (RMS40). VLP were considered if at least two of these parameters were abnormal.

Results. We did not register any significant differences in QRSf, HFLA40 or RMS40 between the two groups. In the COPD group there was a non-significant higher percentage of patients with VLP in comparison with the control group. In the COPD patients we registered a significantly higher number of isolated premature ventricular beats and of combined complex ventricular arrhythmias, consisting of polymorphic PVC, couplets, triplets or nonsustained ventricular tachycardias. None of these arrhythmic parameters correlated with SAECG variables or with the presence of VLP.

Conclusion. In COPD patients parameters measured on signal-averaged electrocardiography and ventricular late potentials analysis have little value in risk stratification for ventricular arrhythmias.

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