Early repolarization pattern: a marker of increased risk in patients with catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia

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Abstract

Aims

The early repolarization pattern (ERP) has been shown to be associated with arrhythmias in patients with short QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, and ischaemic heart disease. Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is an inherited arrhythmia syndrome and related to malignant ventricular tachyarrhythmias in a structurally normal heart. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of ERP and clinical events in patients with CPVT.

Methods and results

Digitalized resting 12-lead ECGs of patients were analysed for ERP and for repolarization markers (QT and Tpeak–Tend interval). The ERP was diagnosed as ‘notching’ or ‘slurring’ at the terminal portion of QRS with ≥0.1 mV elevation in at least two consecutive inferior (II, III, aVF) and/or lateral leads (V4–V6, I, aVL). Among 51 CPVT patients (mean age 36 ± 15 years, 11 males), the ERP was present in 23 (45%): strictly in the inferior leads in 9 (18%) patients, in the lateral leads in 9 (18%) patients, and in infero-lateral leads in 5 (10%) patients. All patients with ERP were symptomatic at presentation (23 of 23 patients with ERP vs. 19 of 28 patients without ERP, P = 0.003). Syncope was also more frequent in patients with ERP (18 of 23 patients with ERP vs. 11 of 28 patients without ERP, P = 0.005).

Conclusion

A pathologic ERP is present in an unexpected large proportion (45%) of patients and is associated with an increased frequency of syncope. In patients with unexplained syncope and ERP at baseline, exercise testing should be performed to detect CPVT.

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