Background: Fragmented QRS (fQRS) on a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) is associated with myocardial scar in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Objective: We postulated that fQRS is a predictor of cardiac events and mortality in patients who have known CAD or who are being evaluated for CAD.
Methods: The cardiac events (myocardial infarction, need for revascularization, or cardiac death) and all-cause mortality were retrospectively reviewed in 998 patients (mean age 65.5 +/- 11.9 years, male 967) who underwent nuclear stress test. The fQRS on a 12-lead ECG included various RSR' patterns (> or =1 R' prime or notching of S wave or R wave) without typical bundle branch block in 2 contiguous leads corresponding to a major coronary artery territory.
Results: All-cause mortality (93 [34.1%] vs 188 [25.9%]) and cardiac event rate (135 [49.5%] vs 200 [27.6%]) were higher in the fQRS group compared with the non-fQRS group during a mean follow-up of 57 +/- 23 months. A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed significantly lower event-free survival for cardiac events (P <.001) and all-cause mortality (P = .02). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that significant fQRS was an independent significant predictor for cardiac events but not for all-cause mortality. The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed no significant difference between fQRS and Q waves groups for cardiac events (P = .48) and all-cause mortality (P = .08).
Conclusion: The fQRS is an independent predictor of cardiac events in patients with CAD. It is associated with significantly lower event-free survival for a cardiac event on long-term follow-up.