Using QRS loop descriptors to characterize the risk of sudden cardiac death in patients with structurally normal hearts

Cheng I. Wu, Yenn Jiang Lin*, I. Hsin Lee, Men Tzung Lo, Yu Cheng Hsieh, Amelia Yun Yu Chen, Wei Kai Wang, Shih Lin Chang, Li Wei Lo, Yu Feng Hu, Fa Po Chung, Ta Chuan Tuan, Tze Fan Chao, Jo Nan Liao, Wan Hsin Hsieh, Ting Yung Chang, Chin Yu Lin, An Ning Feng, Chorng Kuang How, Shih Ann Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The predictive value of non-invasive electrocardiographic examination findings for the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in populations with structurally normal hearts remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of the QRS vectorcardiography of surface electrocardiography in patients with structurally normal hearts who experienced SCD. We consecutively enrolled patients who underwent vectorcardiography between March 2017 and December 2018 in a tertiary referral medical center. These patients didn't have structural heart diseases, histories of congestive heart failure, or reduced ejection fraction, and they were classified into SCD (with aborted SCD history and cerebral performance category score of 1) and control groups (with an intervention for atrioventricular node reentrant tachycardia and without SCD history). A total of 162 patients (mean age, 54.3±18.1 years; men, 75.9%), including 59 in the SCD group and 103 in the control group, underwent propensity analysis. The baseline demographic variables, underlying diseases, QRS loop descriptors (the percentage of the loop area, loop dispersion, and inter-lead QRS dispersion), and other electrocardiographic parameters were compared between the two groups. In the univariate and multivariate analyses, a smaller percentage of the loop area (odds ratio, 0.0003; 95% confidence interval, 0.00-0.02; p<0.001), more significant V4-5 dispersion (odds ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.07; p = 0.002), and longer QRS duration (odds ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.10; p = 0.04) were associated with SCD. In conclusion, the QRS loop descriptors of surface electrocardiography could be used as non-invasive markers to identify patients experiencing aborted SCD from a healthy population. A decreased percentage of loop area and elevated V4-5 QRS dispersion values assessed using vectorcardiography were associated with an increased risk of SCD in patients with structurally normal hearts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0263894
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2022


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