Importance of over-reading ambulatory ECG-based microvolt T-wave alternans to eliminate three main sources of measurement error

Nobuhiro Takasugi, Hiroko Matsuno, Mieko Takasugi, Koichi Shinoda, Takatomo Watanabe, Hiroyasu Ito, Hiroyuki Okura, Richard L. Verrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG)-based microvolt T-wave alternans values measured by the modified moving average method (MMA-TWA) can be disrupted by T-wave changes that mimic true repolarization alternans. Methods: We investigated potential sources of measurement error by studying 19 healthy subjects (12 men; median age, 25) free of known heart disease with 36-month follow-up to establish freedom from significant arrhythmia or syncope. All participants underwent 24-hr continuous 12-lead ECG monitoring. Causes of automated MMA-TWA ≥42 µV episodes were classified based on visual inspection. Results: A total of 2,189 episodes of automated MMA-TWA episodes ≥42 µV were observed in all subjects (peak MMA-TWA: median, 94 μV; interquartile range, 81–112 μV). All episodes included one or more beats with T-wave deformation which lacked “repeating ABAB pattern” and therefore were identified as TWA measurement error. Causes of such error were categorized as: (a) artifact [72.6% (1,589/2,189), observed in 19 (100%) subjects], more frequently in limb than precordial leads; (b) T-wave changes due to changes in heart/body position [25.5% (559/2,189), observed in 14 (73.7%) subjects], frequently observed in leads V1-2; and (c) postextrasystolic T-wave changes [1.9% (41/2,189), observed in 2 (10.5%) subjects]. Conclusions: Relying only on automated MMA-TWA values obtained during ambulatory ECG monitoring can lead to incorrect measurement of TWA. Our findings offer the potential to reduce false-positive TWA results and to achieve more accurate detection of true repolarization alternans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12670
JournalAnnals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01-09-2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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