Electrocardiogram phenotypes in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy caused by distinct mechanisms: apico-basal repolarization gradients vs. Purkinje-myocardial coupling abnormalities.
Lyon A., Bueno-Orovio A., Zacur E., Ariga R., Grau V., Neubauer S., Watkins H., Rodriguez B., Mincholé A.
Aims: To identify key structural and electrophysiological features explaining distinct electrocardiogram (ECG) phenotypes in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Methods and results: Human heart-torso anatomical models were constructed from cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) images of HCM patients, representative of ECG phenotypes identified previously. High performance computing simulations using bidomain models were conducted to dissect key features explaining the ECG phenotypes with increased HCM Risk-SCD scores, namely Group 1A, characterized by normal QRS but inverted T waves laterally and coexistence of apical and septal hypertrophy; and Group 3 with marked QRS abnormalities (deep and wide S waves laterally) and septal hypertrophy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy abnormalities characterized from CMR, such as hypertrophy, tissue microstructure alterations, abnormal conduction system, and ionic remodelling, were selectively included to assess their influence on ECG morphology. Electrocardiogram abnormalities could not be explained by increased wall thickness nor by local conduction abnormalities associated with fibre disarray or fibrosis. Inverted T wave with normal QRS (Group 1A) was obtained with increased apico-basal repolarization gradient caused by ionic remodelling in septum and apex. Lateral QRS abnormalities (Group 3) were only recovered with abnormal Purkinje-myocardium coupling. Conclusion: Two ECG-based HCM phenotypes are explained by distinct mechanisms: ionic remodelling and action potential prolongation in hypertrophied apical and septal areas lead to T wave inversion with normal QRS complexes, whereas abnormal Purkinje-myocardial coupling causes abnormal QRS morphology in V4-V6. These findings have potential implications for patients' management as they point towards different arrhythmia mechanisms in different phenotypes.