New algorithm using only lead aVR for differential diagnosis of wide QRS complex tachycardia

Heart Rhythm. 2008 Jan;5(1):89-98. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2007.09.020. Epub 2007 Sep 20.


Background: We recently reported an ECG algorithm for differential diagnosis of regular wide QRS complex tachycardias that was superior to the Brugada algorithm.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to further simplify the algorithm by omitting the complicated morphologic criteria and restricting the analysis to lead aVR.

Methods: In this study, 483 wide QRS complex tachycardias [351 ventricular tachycardias (VTs), 112 supraventricular tachycardias (SVTs), 20 preexcited tachycardias] from 313 patients with proven diagnoses were prospectively analyzed by two of the authors blinded to the diagnosis. Lead aVR was analyzed for (1) presence of an initial R wave, (2) width of an initial r or q wave >40 ms, (3) notching on the initial downstroke of a predominantly negative QRS complex, and (4) ventricular activation-velocity ratio (v(i)/v(t)), the vertical excursion (in millivolts) recorded during the initial (v(i)) and terminal (v(t)) 40 ms of the QRS complex. When any of criteria 1 to 3 was present, VT was diagnosed; when absent, the next criterion was analyzed. In step 4, v(i)/v(t) >1 suggested SVT, and v(i)/v(t) < or =1 suggested VT.

Results: The accuracy of the new aVR algorithm and our previous algorithm was superior to that of the Brugada algorithm (P = .002 and P = .007, respectively). The aVR algorithm and our previous algorithm had greater sensitivity (P <.001 and P = .001, respectively) and negative predictive value for diagnosing VT and greater specificity (P <.001 and P = .001, respectively) and positive predictive value for diagnosing SVT compared with the Brugada criteria.

Conclusion: The simplified aVR algorithm classified wide QRS complex tachycardias with the same accuracy as standard criteria and our previous algorithm and was superior to the Brugada algorithm.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Brugada Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Electrodes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology