Ashman's phenomenon--a source of nonsustained wide-complex tachycardia: case report and discussion

J Emerg Med. 1992 Mar-Apr;10(2):179-83. doi: 10.1016/0736-4679(92)90213-d.


The refractory period of the right bundle branch is increased when the R-R interval between the prior two conducted impulses is long. Thus, an impulse that arrives soon after the second of two impulses separated by a long R-R interval may be aberrantly conducted with a right bundle branch block morphology on electrocardiogram. This aberrant conduction is termed "Ashman's phenomenon" and is often responsible for isolated wide QRS complexes in the presence of underlying atrial fibrillation. This process may also produce runs of wide QRS complexes that must be distinguished from nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. A case of such multibeat Ashman's phenomena is presented, and the characteristics used to identify this phenomenon are discussed. A brief review of several recent studies on the differentiation of sustained ventricular tachycardia from supraventricular tachycardia with aberrancy in the setting of a regular underlying rhythm is given as well.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Bundle-Branch Block / diagnosis
  • Bundle-Branch Block / physiopathology
  • Cardiac Complexes, Premature*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / physiopathology