Diagnostic clues from the surface ECG to identify idiopathic (fascicular) ventricular tachycardia: correlation with electrophysiologic findings

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 1996 Jan;7(1):2-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.1996.tb00454.x.


Introduction: An RS interval > 100 msec in precordial leads has been recently described for the diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia (VT). The aim of this study was to assess the value of this criterion when applied to patients with right bundle branch block pattern, left-axis deviation (fascicular) VT sensitive to verapamil.

Methods and results: Eleven patients (mean age 31 +/- 11 years; range 16 to 51) had a mean heart rate of 164 +/- 37 beats/min (range 107 to 230) during VT. The QRS complex axis was -92 degrees +/- -15 degrees (range -80 to -115). The mean QRS duration was 121 +/- 9 msec (range 105 to 140). The mean RS interval was 67 +/- 9 msec (range 60 to 80). Fusion beats were present in 2 patients (18%), and AV dissociation confirmed by electrophysiologic study was found on ECG in 8 (73%) of 11. During tachycardia, the QRS-H' interval was 19 +/- 10 msec (range 10 to 30) in 6 of 11 patients. In seven patients, a fast, unique (or double) presystolic potential lasting 32 msec (range 12 to 40) occurring before the onset of the QRS complex was found at the site of origin of VT, localized in the inferior apical left ventricular septum. In all cases, VT was successfully treated by catheter ablation.

Conclusion: A wide QRS complex tachycardia with right bundle branch block and left-axis deviation sensitive to verapamil observed in a young patient without structural heart disease should not be confused with supraventricular tachycardia with aberrancy but rather suggests the presence of fascicular VT. As opposed to VT associated with structural heart disease, the RS interval is < 80 msec in all precordial leads in all cases. Independent of this parameter, AV dissociation detectable on surface ECG has a sensitivity of 73%, which increases to 82% in the presence of fusion beats.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology