The body surface potential map (BSPM) may reflect regional myocardial electrical activity. This technique can thus provide information regarding the excitation of ventricles. This study is an attempt to evaluate the usefulness of BSPM in determining the sites of the atrioventricular (AV) accessory pathway (AP) in patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White (W-P-W) syndrome. The BSPMs were obtained from 40 consecutive patients with W-P-W syndrome in a fasting state, using the heart potential map system designed by Toyama et al. Unipolar electrocardiograms were recorded simultaneously from 87 lead points on the chest surface, including 59 lead points on the anterior chest and 28 on the back. Wilson's central terminal was used as a voltage reference and BSPMs in an isopotential distribution pattern were made every millisecond throughout ventricular activation from these unipolar ECGs with the use of a microcomputer system. All patients underwent an electrophysiologic study (EPS) at cardiac catheterization. We analyzed the potential distribution during ventricular depolarization and compared the results between EPS and BSPM findings. The following results were obtained: (1) seven types of BSPM pattern were identified in accordance with the sites of the AV AP confirmed by EPS; (2) the location of the potential minimum of ventricular depolarization and the direction of the excitation wavefront during early ventricular depolarization, the reversal pattern of ventricular potential distribution, the epicardial right ventricular breakthrough and the dynamic change of ventricular potential distribution were useful for the detection of the ventricular pre-excitation site; (3) epicardial right ventricular breakthrough occurred in nearly all patients with left ventricular free wall accessory AV connections; (4) the abnormal early reversal pattern of ventricular potential distribution did not occur in patients with left ventricular AV connections but did appear in most patients with right ventricular free wall AV connections. Accordingly, BSPM is a reliable noninvasive procedure to determine the ventricular pre-excitation sites of patients with W-P-W syndrome.
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