Is derived vectorcardiography a potential screening tool for pulmonary hypertension?

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Background: Patients with atrial septal defects and pulmonary hypertension would benefit from early identification and treatment of pulmonary hypertension prior to closure. Noninvasive screening tools for pulmonary hypertension are inadequate. Electrocardiography, though readily available, has so far been of limited screening utility in patients with pulmonary hypertension. We hypothesize that derived vectorcardiographic parameters will aid in identifying increased right ventricular afterload and thus provide an additional screening tool for pulmonary hypertension in patients with secundum atrial septal defects. Objective: Establish whether vectorcardiography can be used to screen for pulmonary hypertension. Methods: A retrospective review of patients with secundum atrial septal defects (ASD) who underwent cardiac catheterization at the University of Minnesota from 2012 to 2020 was performed. We excluded patients with other congenital heart diagnoses, insufficient hemodynamic data, or lacking sinus rhythm electrocardiogram at time of cardiac catheterization. Parameters analyzed included: Sokolow-Lion right ventricular hypertrophy criteria, PR duration, QRS duration, corrected QT intervals, QRS and T wave frontal plane axes, rSR', R' amplitude, as well as vectorcardiographic parameters (Kors regression-related method), the QRS vector magnitude, T wave vector magnitude, and the spatial QRS-T angle. These were compared to measures of pulmonary hypertension obtained at cardiac catheterization. Results: The spatial QRS-T angle significantly differentiated ASD patients with pulmonary hypertension (median 104 degrees, interquartile range 55–137 degrees) from ASD patients without pulmonary hypertension (median 37 degrees, interquartile range 21–63 degrees, p-value of 0.002). At a cut-off of 124 degrees, the positive and negative predictive values for identification of pulmonary hypertension were 36.4% and 96.4%, respectively, with an odds ratio of 13.4 (95% confidence interval of 2.9 to 63.7). The positive predictive value was significantly improved when combined with echocardiographic data to screen for pulmonary hypertension. Conclusion: The spatial QRS-T angle is associated with pulmonary hypertension in patients with secundum atrial septal defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Electrocardiology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Electrocardiogram
  • Electrophysiology
  • Pediatric cardiology
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Vectorcardiography


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