Different patterns of bundle-branch blocks and the risk of incident heart failure in the women's health initiative (WHI) study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Circulation: Heart Failure








Bundle-branch block; Electrocardiography; Heart failure; QRS duration; Repolarization


Background-We evaluated the risk of incident heart failure (HF) associated with bundle-branch blocks (BBBs) in postmenopausal women. Methods and Results-Cox's regression was used to evaluate hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals for HF among 65 975 participants of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study during an average follow-up of 14 years. BBBs observed in 1676 women at baseline were categorized into left, right, and indetermined-type BBBs (LBBB, RBBB, and intraventricular conduction defect, respectively). Compared with women with no BBB, LBBB, and intraventricular conduction defect were strong predictors of incident HF in multivariable-adjusted risk models (hazard ratio, 3.79; confidence interval, 2.95-4.87 for LBBB and hazard ratio, 3.53; confidence interval, 2.14-5.81 for intraventricular conduction defect). RBBB was not a significant predictor of incident HF in multivariable-adjusted risk model, but the combination of RBBB and left anterior fascicular block was a strong predictor (hazard ratio, 2.96; confidence interval, 1.77-4.93). QRS duration was an independent predictor of incident HF only in LBBB, with more pronounced risk at QRS ≥140 ms than at <140 ms. QRS nondipolar voltage (RNDPV) was an independent predictor in both RBBB and LBBB and, in addition, in LBBB, QRS/STT angle and ST J-point depression in aVL were independent predictors. Conclusions-LBBB, intraventricular conduction defect, and RBBB combined with left anterior fascicular block are strong predictors of incident HF in multivariable-adjusted risk models, but RBBB is not a significant predictor. QRS duration ≥140 ms may warrant consideration in LBBB as an indication for further diagnostic evaluation for possible therapeutic and preventive action. Clinical Trial Registration-URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00000611. © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.