QT variability unrelated to RR variability during stress testing for identification of coronary artery disease

Marta Gonzalez del Castillo, David Hernando, Michele Orini, Pablo Laguna, Jari Viik, Raquel Bailon, Esther Pueyo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Stress test electrocardiogram (ECG) analysis is widely used for coronary artery disease (CAD) diagnosis despite its limited accuracy. Alterations in autonomic modulation of cardiac electrical activity have been reported in CAD patients during acute ischemia. We hypothesized that those alterations could be reflected in changes in ventricular repolarization dynamics during stress testing that could be measured through QT interval variability (QTV). However, QTV is largely dependent on RR interval variability (RRV), which might hinder intrinsic ventricular repolarization dynamics. In this study, we investigated whether different markers accounting for low-frequency (LF) oscillations of QTV unrelated to RRV during stress testing could be used to separate patients with and without CAD. Power spectral density of QTV unrelated to RRV was obtained based on time-frequency coherence estimation. Instantaneous LF power of QTV and QTV unrelated to RRV were obtained. LF power of QTV unrelated to RRV normalized by LF power of QTV was also studied. Stress test ECG of 100 patients were analysed. Patients referred to coronary angiography were classified into non-CAD or CAD group. LF oscillations in QTV did not show significant differences between CAD and non-CAD groups. However, LF oscillations in QTV unrelated to RRV were significantly higher in the CAD group as compared with the non-CAD group when measured during the first phases of exercise and last phases of recovery. ROC analysis of these indices revealed area under the curve values ranging from 61 to 73%. Binomial logistic regression analysis revealed LF power of QTV unrelated to RRV, both during the first phase of exercise and last phase of recovery, as independent predictors of CAD. In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of removing the influence of RRV when measuring QTV during stress testing for CAD identification and supports the added value of LF oscillations of QTV unrelated to RRV to diagnose CAD from the first minutes of exercise. This article is part of the theme issue 'Advanced computation in cardiovascular physiology: new challenges and opportunities'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20200261
    Number of pages14
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Issue number2212
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • electrocardiogram
    • repolarization
    • variability
    • coronary artery disease
    • stress testing
    • ECG
    • PERIOD

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 2


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