The electrocardiographic characteristics of septal flash in patients with left bundle branch block
Aims In patients with systolic heart failure and left bundle branch block (LBBB), septal flash (SF) movement has been described by echocardiography. We evaluated the prevalence of SF in LBBB and non-LBBB patients and evaluated whether specific electrocardiographic (ECG) characteristics within LBBB are associated with the presence of SF on echocardiography. Methods and results One hundred and four patients with probable LBBB on standard 12-lead ECG were selected, 40 patients with non-LBBB served as controls. Left bundle branch block and non-LBBB were defined, according to the most recent guidelines. The presence of SF was assessed by echocardiography. Strict LBBB criteria were met in 93.3% of the patients. Septal flash was present in 45.2% of LBBB patients and was not present in non-LBBB patients. This was more prevalent in patients without anterior ischaemic cardiomyopathy (ICMP) compared with those with anterior ICMP ( P = 0.008). The duration of QRS was longer in SF patients compared with that of non-SF patients ( P < 0.05). The presence of a mid-QRS notching in more than two consecutive leads was a good predictor for the presence of SF ( P = 0.01), and when combined with an absent R-wave in lead V1, the presence of SF is very likely ( P = 0.001). Conclusion Our data show that SF is present in 45.2% of LBBB patients, whereas it was absent in patients with non-LBBB. Patients with SF fulfilled more LBBB criteria compared with LBBB patients without SF. Our findings raise the provocative question of whether the presence of SF identifies patients with ‘true LBBB’ and whether this echocardiographic finding might be considered as a selection parameter in cardiac resynchronization therapy.
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