Spectral Analysis of the High Resolution QRS Complex during Exercise-Induced Ischemia

Amir Beker, Jacob Erel, Abraham Pinchas, Shimon Abboud*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The effect of acute myocardial infarction and regional ischemia on the frequency content of the ECG signal has been described by several investigators. In the present study, the feasibility of assessing changes in the QRS spectrum during exercise testing, and whether these changes are related to the occurrence of ischemia were examined. Methods: Spectral analysis of the high resolution ECGs from leads V3, V4, V5, and V6 were performed in two groups of male subjects before, during, and following treadmill exercise testing. Group A included 32 coronary artery disease (CAD) patients, with arteriographically proven >75% obstruction of at least two main coronary arteries, and group B included 30 healthy subjects, without history or symptoms of CAD. Signal averaging and filtering techniques were used in order to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of the recorded ECGs. The power spectrum of the averaged QRS waveform for the different stages of the exercise testing was computed using a Fast Fourier Transform, and the slope of the linear regression line was found in the frequency range 7.81-249.92 Hz on the plot of log((amplitude)2) versus log(frequency). Results: Regression line slopes immediately after peak exercise were significantly lower for the CAD group than for the healthy subjects in 3 of the 4 examined leads. No significant changes in slopes were found between the two groups at rest or during late recovery. Comparing the differences between slopes at different stages of the test revealed that the difference between postexercise slope and rest slope has lower mean values for the CAD group in all four leads, with a significant difference in lead V6, and for the difference between postexercise slope and recovery slope, lower mean values were found for the CAD group in all four leads, with a significant difference in V5 and V6. Conclusions: These findings indicate that ischemic changes affect the power spectrum of the QRS complex, and result in a steeper regression line on a log-log scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-392
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Exercise testing
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Signal-averaged ECG
  • Spectral analysis


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