Esophageal Electrocardiography

Heart rate variability in patients with atrioventricular block.

Hsiao HC, Chiu HW, Lee SC, Kao T, Chang HY, Kong CW.Veterans Genl Hosp-Taipei. Chung Hua I Hsueh Tsa Chih (Taipei) 1997 Aug;60(2):81-5. BACKGROUND: Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis has been an established method for assessment of the activities of autonomic nervous system. Conventionally, the RR intervals from the surface electrocardiogram (ECG) are used for HRV analysis, however, analysis of the RR intervals may not be suitable in patients with atrioventricular (AV) node dysfunction, particularly in patients with certain degree of AV block. We used an esophageal electrode to detect PP intervals for HRV analysis in these patients. METHODS: Seven AV block patients and 13 subjects with normal AV conduction (control group) were enrolled in this study. The signals from esophageal lead, surface lead and intraatrial lead were recorded. Correlation coefficient of heart beat intervals from different leads was analyzed. Then we compared the HRV parameter recorded by esophageal lead between AV block patients and the control group. RESULTS: The AA intervals in intraatrial ECG and the PP intervals in surface ECG were poorly correlated (r = 0.489) in the AV block patients. However, intraatrial ECG was correlated well with esophageal ECG (r = 0.968). HRV with time domain decreased significantly in patients with AV block. The standard deviation of NN intervals (SDNN), pNN-50 and r-MSSD in the control group and the AV block patients were 0.035 +/- 0.006 vs. 0.021 +/- 0.016 seconds (p = 0.002), 3.210 +/- 3.120 vs. 0.050 +/- 0.040% (p = 0.027) and 0.577 +/- 0.181 vs. 0.318 +/- 0.084 seconds (p = 0.009), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The esophageal lead recording is a non-invasive, easy and safe method to detect HRV of AV block patients whose vagal activity is abnormal.

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