Spatial peak and mean QRS-T angles: A comparison of similar but different emerging risk factors for cardiac death

J Electrocardiol. Jul-Aug 2020;61:112-120. doi: 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2020.05.013. Epub 2020 May 22.


Background: The spatial peak and mean QRS-T angles are scientifically but not clinically established risk factors for cardiovascular events including cardiac death. The study aims were to compare these angles, assess their association with hypertension (HT) and diabetes mellitus (DM), and explore the relation between the mean QRS-T angle and the ventricular gradient (VG; reflecting electrical heterogeneity), which both are derived from the QRSarea and Tarea vectors.

Methods: Altogether 1094 participants (aged 50-65 years, 550 women) from the pilot of the population-based Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study with Frank vectorcardiographic recordings were included and divided into 5 subgroups: apparently healthy n = 320; HT n = 311; DM n = 33; DM + HT n = 53; miscellaneous conditions n = 377. Abnormal peak and mean QRS-T angles were defined as >95th percentile.

Results: Peak QRS-T angles were generally narrower than the mean QRS-T angles; both were narrower in women than in men. Abnormal peak (>124°) and/or mean (>119°) QRS-T angles were found in 73 participants (6.7%). The concordance regarding abnormal versus normal-borderline QRS-T angles was good (Cohen's kappa 0.61). The prevalence of abnormal angles varied from 2.5% in healthy to 21.2% in DM. There was an inverse logarithmical relation between the mean QRS-T angle and the VG.

Conclusions: The peak and mean QRS-T angles are not interchangeable but complementary. DM, HT, sex and absence of disease are important determinants of both QRS-T angles. The mean QRS-T angle and the VG relationship is complex. All three VCG derived measures reflect related but differing electrophysiological properties and have potential prognostic value vis-à-vis cardiovascular events.

Keywords: QRS-T angles; Risk marker; Vectorcardiography; Ventricular gradient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Death
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vectorcardiography