Differentiation of fasciculoventricular fibers from anteroseptal accessory pathways using the surface electrocardiogram

Heart Rhythm. 2019 Jul;16(7):1072-1079. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2019.02.011. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Background: Fasciculoventricular fibers (FVFs) are responsible for 1%-5% of cases of asymptomatic preexcitation on the surface electrocardiogram (ECG). Unlike ventricular preexcitation seen in Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, FVFs are not associated with sudden cardiac death from preexcited atrial fibrillation.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify surface ECG variables that differentiate FVFs from true WPW syndrome.

Methods: This is a retrospective case-control study comparing surface ECG characteristics of patients diagnosed with FVFs (cases) with those of patients with WPW syndrome and anteroseptal accessory pathways (controls) via intracardiac electrophysiology testing at a single institution from 2005 to 2017.

Results: Twenty-four cases of FVFs confirmed by intracardiac electrophysiology testing were identified and compared with 48 consecutive controls with WPW syndrome and anteroseptal accessory pathways. Patients with WPW syndrome were found to have significantly higher delta wave amplitudes (4.8 ± 2.0 mm vs 1.9 ± 1.3 mm; P < .001), shorter PR intervals (94.6 ± 12.5 ms vs 106.8 ± 13.2 ms; P < .001), and longer QRS intervals (133.6 ± 19.0 ms vs 118.7 ± 24.7 ms; P = .006) than did those with FVFs. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified the delta wave amplitude as the only independent predictor of WPW syndrome (odds ratio 3.1 per 1-mm increase; bootstrapped 95% confidence interval 1.5-6.4; c statistic 0.90; P = .002).

Conclusion: The etiology of preexcitation in patients with an anteroseptal preexcitation pattern, whether because of a benign FVF or because of potentially serious WPW syndrome, can be noninvasively deduced using the surface ECG. A higher delta wave amplitude is an independent risk factor for the presence of WPW syndrome and can accurately distinguish WPW syndrome from a FVF with good test accuracy characteristics.

Keywords: Accessory pathway; Electrocardiogram; Fasciculoventricular fiber; Fasciculoventricular pathway; Preexcitation; Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pre-Excitation Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Pre-Excitation Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / physiopathology