Intracoronary ECG ST-segment Shift Remission Time During Reactive Coronary Hyperemia, τ-icECG: a New Method for Assessing Hemodynamic Stenosis Severity (τ-icECG)

  • End date
    May 31, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University Hospital Inselspital, Berne
Updated on 23 October 2022


This study evaluates a new diagnostic approach based on intracoronary electrocardiogram (icECG) ST-segment shift remission time, denoted as τ-icECG (τ=tau, i.e., the remission half-time fitted by an exponential function to the disappearing ST-segment shift), to be used for PCI guidance.


Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death globally, accounting for 17.9 million deaths per year in 2019. Aside from the acute coronary syndrome, where percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has been shown to improve outcome, the number of patients with chronic coronary syndrome (CCS) is also increasing. PCI of hemodynamically relevant stenotic lesions causing myocardial ischemia is the standard treatment in these patients. Effective revascularization, as recommended by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines, requires to differentiate between hemodynamically relevant and non-significant stenotic coronary lesions.

Currently, coronary stenosis assessment is performed by structural visual angiographic assessment or by coronary pressure measurements up- and downstream of the lesion. The latter is recommended by the ESC and is based on its prognostic value derived from large randomized clinical trials. Given temporary paralysis of the coronary microcirculation by a hyperemia-inducing substance such as adenosine (ADO), pressure is, in theory, directly related to coronary flow. Therefore, the pressure drop during hyperemia across a coronary stenosis, i.e., fractional flow reserve (FFR) provides an estimate of its restrictive effect on flow. However, this method depends on expensive pressure sensor angioplasty guidewires, and on hyperemia-inducing substances, such as ADO. Hence, pharmacologic limitations such as atrioventricular conduction defects and asthma and other potential adverse events (e.g. arrhythmias) aside from costs are major drawbacks of pressure-derived FFR. In order to avoid potential drug-induced side effects and achieve maximal hyperemia, the study group performs reactive hyperemia FFR measurements induced by a proximal, 1-minute coronary artery balloon occlusion. This method has been documented non-inferior in its ability to detect relevant coronary stenosis compared to adenosine-induced FFR.

The present project aims at validating a novel, potentially more harmless, faster and less costly diagnostic approach for measuring hemodynamic coronary stenosis severity.

The commonly obtained surface lead electrocardiogram (ECG) is limited in detecting short-lasting or minor myocardial ischemia. In comparison, intracoronary ECG (icECG) is more time- and space-sensitive in detecting myocardial ischemia, the latter being due to its close vicinity to the myocardial region of interest. It can be easily obtained by attaching an alligator clamp to a coronary guidewire.

Based on the sensitivity of the icECG, several clinical trials have assessed the value of icECG to guide PCI, and rated it useful to predict post-procedural myocardial injury.

The investigators research group performed a trial to determine the diagnostic accuracy of icECG ST-segment shift during pharmacologic inotropic stress in assessing functional coronary lesion severity versus structural stenosis severity as obtained by quantitative coronary angiography in % diameter narrowing (%S by QCA), and versus other functional hemodynamic indices (FFR, instantaneous wave-free ratio (iFR)). IcECG ST-segment shift showed a significant correlation with all established parameters.

Evaluation of icECG required the development of a specific software algorithm, which robustly determines quantitative icECG ST-segment shift in every single heartbeat. The validation analysis of the algorithm took place in an offline setting and demonstrated an excellent correlation as compared to the results of ECG experts (r2 = 0.932; p<0.001).

The development of this fully autonomous icECG analyzing algorithm was set up on an existing ECG software, denoted as EsoLive, developed at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Medical Informatics, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. In short, the algorithm starts with a baseline wander extraction method related to Kalman filtering, then sets the initial points for an "edge", i.e., J-point, before, it processes in a similar way the isoelectric line level. Quantitative time as well as voltage measurements of those two points allow the calculation of the icECG ST-segment shift for each single QRS complex.

This study evaluates a new diagnostic approach based on icECG ST-segment shift remission time, denoted as τ-icECG (τ=tau, i.e., the remission half-time fitted by an exponential function to the disappearing ST-segment shift), to be used for PCI guidance.

Condition Chronic Coronary Syndrome
Treatment Tracing intracoronary electrocardiogram
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05583786
SponsorUniversity Hospital Inselspital, Berne
Last Modified on23 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Chronic coronary syndrome
Chronic stable 1-3 vessel coronary artery disease
Coronary stenotic lesion of any diameter narrowing
Age > 18 years
Referred for elective coronary angiography at th investigators institution
Written informed consent to participate in the study

Exclusion Criteria

Acute coronary syndrome
Unstable cardiopulmonary condition
Severe aortic valve stenosis
Acute congestive heart failure NYHA III-IV
ECG bundle branch blocks, non-sinus rhythm or paced rhythm
Coronary anatomy unsuitable for coronary measurements
Severe pulmonary, renal or hepatic disease
Women of childbearing age (≤50years and ≤12months after the last menstruation)
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