Prognostic significance of signal-averaged electrocardiogram after thrombolytic therapy and/or angioplasty during acute myocardial infarction (CAST substudy)

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The American Journal of Cardiology








Thrombolytic therapy and angioplasty during the early phase of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have been shown to improve prognosis. Time-domain analysis of the signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAECG) provides strong, independent prediction of arrhythmic events (arrhythmic death/resuscitated cardiac arrest) after AMI. To determine whether the prognostic significance of an abnormal SAECG (QRS duration ≥120 ms) measured after AMI is influenced by thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty given in the AMI period, the predictive value of SAECG was compared in patients with and without prior thrombolysis/angioplasty in a substudy of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. Information was available in 787 patients. The average follow-up was 10 ± 3 months and arrhythmic events occurred in 33 patients (4.2%). The prevalence of abnormal SAECG in patients with and without thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty was 9.4% (34 of 363 patients) and 14.9% (63 of 424 patients), respectively (p < 0.02). The arrhythmic event rate for patients with abnormal SAECG with and without thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty was 20.6% (7 of 34 patients) and 20.6% (13 of 63 patients), respectively. The arrhythmic event rate for patients with normal SAECG with and without thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty was 0.9% (3 of 329 patients) and 2.8% (10 of 361 patients), respectively. It is concluded that in patients with an AMI (1) the use of thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty is associated with a significantly decreased prevalence of abnormal SAECG, (2) thrombolytic therapy/ angioplasty associated with a normal SAECG portends an excellent prognosis, and (3) an abnormal SAECG is predictive of an increased incidence of arrhythmic events in all patients regardless of prior thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty. Thus, thrombolytic therapy/angioplasty does not affect the prognostic significance of a subsequent abnormal SAECG. © 1994.