Is T-Wave Alternans a Repolarization Abnormality Marker in COVID-19? An Investigation on the Potentialities of Portable Electrocardiogram Device

Alexander Edo Tondas, Dian Andina Munawar, Ilaria Marcantoni, Iche Andriyani Liberty, Rido Mulawarman, Muhammad Hadi, Monica Trifitriana, Taufik Indrajaya, Muhammad Yamin, Irfannuddin Irfannuddin, Laura Burattini


Background: Cardiac arrhythmias are significantly associated with poor outcomes in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Microvolt T-wave alternans (TWA) can be automatically quantified and has been recognized as a representation of repolarization heterogeneity and linked to arrhythmogenesis in various cardiovascular diseases. This study aimed to explore the correlation between microvolt TWA and COVID-19 pathology.

Methods: Patients suspected of COVID-19 in Mohammad Hoesin General Hospital were consecutively evaluated using Alivecor® Kardiamobile 6L™ portable electrocardiogram (ECG) device. Severe COVID-19 patients or those who are unable to cooperate in active ECG self-recording were excluded from the study. TWA was detected and its amplitude was quantified using the novel enhanced adaptive match filter (EAMF) method.

Results: A total of 175 patients, 114 COVID-19 patients (polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive group), and 61 non-COVID-19 patients (PCR-negative group) were enrolled in the study. PCR-positive group was subdivided according to the severity of COVID-19 pathology into mild and moderate severity subgroups. Baseline TWA levels were similar between both groups during admission (42.47 ± 26.52 µV vs. 44.72 ± 38.21 µV), but higher TWA levels were observed during discharge in the PCR-positive compared to the PCR-negative group (53.45 ± 34.42 µV vs. 25.15 ± 17.64 µV, P = 0.03). The correlation between PCR-positive result in COVID-19 and TWA value was significant, after adjustment of other confounding variables (R2 = 0.081, P = 0.030). There was no significant difference in TWA levels between mild and moderate severity subgroups in patients with COVID-19, both during admission (44.29 ± 27.14 µV vs. 36.75 ± 24.46 µV, P = 0.34) and discharge (49.47 ± 33.62 µV vs. 61.09 ± 35.99 µV, P = 0.33).

Conclusions: Higher TWA values can be observed on follow-up ECG obtained during discharge in the PCR-positive COVID-19 patients.

Cardiol Res. 2023;14(1):45-53


T-wave alternans; COVID-19; Cardiac repolarization; ECG device

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