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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)