Association of fragmented QRS with left atrial scarring in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation undergoing radiofrequency catheter ablation

Published:September 10, 2019DOI:


      Fragmented QRS (fQRS) on 12-lead electrocardiography is a noninvasive marker of intramyocardial conduction delay due to ventricular scarring that has not previously been studied in atrial fibrillation.


      The purpose of this study was to assess the association of fQRS with left atrial (LA) scarring in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (PsAF) undergoing first catheter ablation.


      A total of 376 patients with PsAF were enrolled. Severity of LA scarring was assessed using electroanatomic mapping. Narrow fQRS was defined by the presence of an additional R wave (R′) or notching in the nadir of the S wave, or the presence of >1 R′ in 2 contiguous leads corresponding to inferior, lateral, or anterior myocardial regions.


      Both any degree (97.3% vs 63.3%) and severe (42.2% vs 6.3%) LA scarring were higher in patients with fQRS. Age and fQRS were found to be independent predictors of severe LA scarring. At multiple ventricular regions, fQRS had diagnostic accuracy of 79.8% for prediction of severe LA scarring. Nonpulmonary vein triggers were more often detected and ablated in patients with fQRS and severe LA scarring (84.4% vs 70%; P = .001). Atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence was observed in 131 patients (34.8%) during 18.9 ± 7.7 months of follow-up, which was significantly higher in patients with fQRS (53.2% vs 16.8%). In multivariate analysis, fQRS was found to be a significant predictor of recurrence (hazard ratio 4.65; 95% interval confidence 2.91–7.42; P <.001).


      The study results showed that fQRS is a simple, available, and noninvasive marker, and that fQRS at multiple ventricular regions is significantly associated with the severity of LA scarring in PsAF patients.


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