Epsilon waves detected by various electrocardiographic recording methods: in patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy

Tex Heart Inst J. 2010;37(4):405-11.


We analyzed the shape and distribution of epsilon waves by 3 various methods of electrocardiographic recording in patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.Thirty-two patients who met recognized diagnostic criteria for arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy were included in this study (24 men and 8 women; mean age, 42.3 ± 12.9 yr). Epsilon waves were detected by standard 12-lead electrocardiography (S-ECG), right-sided precordial lead electrocardiography (R-ECG), and Fontaine bipolar precordial lead electrocardiography (F-ECG). We found 3 types of epsilon waves: wiggle waves, small spike waves, and smooth potential waves that formed an atypical prolonged R' wave. The most common configuration was small spiked waves. In some circumstances, epsilon waves were evident in some leads (especially in leads V(1) through V(3)), but notches were recorded in the other leads during the corresponding phase. These waves could be detected only by S-ECG in 1 patient, R-ECG in 3 patients, and F-ECG in 5 patients; the rates of epsilon-wave detection by these 3 methods were 38% (12/32), 38% (12/32), and 50% (16/32), respectively. However, the detection rate using combined methods was significantly higher than that by S-ECG alone (SF-ECG 56% vs S-ECG 38%, P = 0.0312; and SRF-ECG 66% vs S-ECG 38%, P = 0.0039). In addition, the rate of widespread T-wave inversion (exceeding V(3)) was significantly higher in patients with epsilon waves than in those without (48% vs 9%, P = 0.029), as was ventricular tachycardia (95% vs 64%, P = 0.019).These 3 electrocardiographic recording methods should be used in combination to improve the detection rate of epsilon waves.

Keywords: Arrhythmias, cardiac/etiology; arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/diagnosis; cell communications/genetics; electrocardiography/methods/standards; epsilon waves; gap junctions; genetic predisposition to disease; heart function tests; sensitivity and specificity; ventricular dysfunction, right.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / physiopathology
  • China
  • Electrocardiography* / methods
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult