[Fragmented QRS. Relevance in Clinical Practice]

Herzschrittmacherther Elektrophysiol. 2015 Sep;26(3):235-41. doi: 10.1007/s00399-015-0390-6.
[Article in German]


The QRS complex represents the electrical depolarization of ventricular myocardium. In the case of an undisturbed depolarization, the QRS complex has a normal configuration and duration, but abnormal electrical conduction leads to widening of the QRS complex. The block of one of the Tawara branches results in a typical bundle branch block pattern. A QRS complex that cannot be classified as bundle branch block due to an atypical configuration and contains notched R or S waves is called a fragmented QRS. The underlying pathophysiologies are manifold and include myocardial scars induced by ischemic heart disease, myocardial fibrosis due to other diseases, primary cardiac pathologies as well as systemic diseases with cardiac involvement. Pathologies on the cellular level, such as ion channel dysfunctions, also correlate with fragmented QRS. Besides the diagnostic relevance, fragmented QRS is known to have prognostic properties, for example in identifying high risk patients with coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, Brugada syndrome and acquired long QT syndrome; however, fragmented QRS may also be detected in ECGs of healthy individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Bundle-Branch Block / diagnosis*
  • Bundle-Branch Block / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Stunning / complications
  • Myocardial Stunning / diagnosis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity