Introduction: Magnetocardiographic (MCG) mapping is a new method to record cardiac signals. This study examined the association of MCG late fields with the propensity to sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) after myocardial infarction (MI).
Methods and results: One hundred patients with remote MI were studied, 38 with and 62 without history of VT. High-resolution MCG and signal-averaged ECG (SAECG) as a comparative method were recorded. Time-domain parameters describing the abnormal low-amplitude end QRS activity, MCG late fields, and SAECG late potentials were analyzed. Late field parameters differed significantly between the patient groups: filtered QRS duration was 137 +/- 26 msec in the VT group and 110 +/- 18 msec in the control group (P < 0.001), and root mean square amplitude of the last 40 msec was 260 +/- 170 and 510 +/- 360 fT (P < 0.001), respectively. The optimal MCG parameter combination yielded a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 61% in classification to the VT group, whereas those for SAECG were 63% and 66%. In a subgroup of 63 patients with marked left ventricular dysfunction and comparable stage of coronary heart disease, only MCG (sensitivity 73%, specificity 67%) but not SAECG could assign a patient to the VT group.
Conclusion: Late fields of the MCG QRS complex indicate propensity to life-threatening arrhythmias in post-MI patients. This discriminative ability persists in the presence of severe left ventricular dysfunction where ECG late potentials lose their informative value. MCG late field analysis is a potential new method for noninvasive risk assessment in post-MI patients.