Regression of Q waves and clinical outcomes following primary PCI in anterior STEMI

J Electrocardiol. 2022 Jul-Aug:73:131-136. doi: 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2019.09.022. Epub 2019 Oct 20.


Background: Pathological Q waves are correlated with infarct size, and Q-wave regression is associated with left ventricular ejection fraction improvement. There are limited data regarding the association of Q-wave regression and clinical outcomes. Our main objective was to assess the association of pathological Q wave evolution after reperfusion with clinical outcomes after anterior STEMI.

Methods: Standard 12-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded in 780 anterior STEMI patients treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the CIRCUS trial. ECGs were recorded before and 90 min following PCI, as well as at hospitalization discharge and 12 months of follow-up. The number of classic ECG criteria Q waves was scored for each ECG. Patients were classified in the Q wave regression group if they had regression of at least one Q wave between the post-PCI, the discharge and/or one year ECGs. Patients were classified in the Q wave persistent group if they had the same number or greater between the post-PCI, the discharge and/or 1 and one year ECGs. All-cause death and heart failure events were assessed for all patients at one year.

Results: There were 323(43%) patients with persistent Q waves (PQ group), 378(49%) patients with Q wave regression (RQ group) and 60(8%) patients with non-Q wave MI (NQ group). Infarct size as measured by the peak creatine kinase was significantly greater in the PQ group compared to the RQ and NQ groups (4633 ± 2784 IU/l vs. 3814 ± 2595 IU/l vs. 1733 ± 1583 IU/l respectively, p < 0.0001). At one year, there were 22 deaths (7%) in the PQ-group, 15 (4%) in the RQ-group and none in the NQ-group (p = 0.04). There was a 4-fold increase in the risk of death or heart failure in the PQ compared to the NQ group (HR 4.7 [1.1; 19.3]; p = 0.03), but there was no significant difference between NQ and RQ groups (HR 3.3 [0.8; 13.8]; p = 0.09).

Conclusion: In a population of anterior STEMI patients, persistent Q waves defined according to the classic ECG criteria after reperfusion was associated with a 4-fold increase in the risk of heart failure or death compared to non-Q-wave MI, while Q-wave regression was associated with significantly lower risk of events.

Keywords: Anterior ST-elevation myocardial infarction; Infarct size; Left ventricle remodeling; Q wave regression; Stunned myocardium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Creatine Kinase / therapeutic use
  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction*
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention*
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction* / diagnosis
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction* / surgery
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Creatine Kinase