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Introduction

In 1991 the Brugada Criteria[1] were published in Circulation. The criteria were
established because the conventional criteria used to differentiate a Wide Complex
Tachycardia lacked specificity. The Brugada criteria consisted of four criteria established
by the authors, which were prospectively analyzed in a total of 554 tachycardias with a
widened QRS complex (384 ventricular and 170 supraventricular). The sensitivity of the
four consecutive steps was 0.987, and the specificity was 0.965.

Four Brugada Criteria for Diagnosis of Ventricular


Tachycardia
1. Lack of an RS complex in the precordial leads
2. Whether the longest interval in any precordial lead from the beginning of the R
wave to the deepest part of the S wave when an RS complex is present is greater
than 100 ms
3. Whether atrioventricular dissociation is present
4. Whether both leads V1 and V6 fulfilled classic criteria for ventricular tachycardia.

Step 1: Lack of RS Complex


An RS complex was present in at least one precordial lead in all SVTs with aberrant
conduction so this finding is 100% specific for the diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia.
However, only 26% of VTs did not have an RS complex in any precordial lead. In other
words if you do not see an RS complex it is VT, but if you see an RS complex you need
to go to Step 2 because RS complexes are seen in both SVTs and some Ventricular
Tachycardias.
Step 2: Whether the R to S interval in any precordial
lead is greater than 100 ms
This is measured from the beginning of the R wave to the deepest portion of the S wave.
An RS interval greater than 100 msec was not observed in any SVT with aberrant
conduction. Half of the VTs which did have an RS complex in at least one precordial lead
had an RS interval less than 100 msec and the other half of the VTs had an RS interval of
greater than 100 msec. Thus, an RS interval of more than 100 msec in any precordial lead
when an RS complex was present (Step 2) were each 100% specific for the diagnosis of
VT.

How to measure RS complex

Step 3: AV Dissociation
When looking at an EKG of a wide complex tachycardia it is always nice to see AV
dissociation because it is 100% specific for the diagnosis of VT.
Step 4: Morphology Criteria
This step is the hardest to memorize and it is better to keep a reference card or just visit
this website if you need to read over the criteria. If you do not make the diagnosis of VT
with Steps 1-3 then the morphology criteria are analyzed in leads V1 and V6. If both
leads have a morphology compatible with the diagnosis of VT, the diagnosis of VT is
made. Otherwise, the diagnosis of SVT with aberrant conduction is made by exclusion.

Tachycardia with a right bundle branch block-like QRS

Lead V1

Monophasic R or QR or RS favors VT
Triphasic RSR' favors SVT

Lead V6

R to S ratio <1 (R wave smaller than S wave) favors VT


QS or QR favors VT
Monophasic R favors VT
Triphasic favors SVT
R to S ratio >1 (R wave larger than S wave)favors SVT

Tachycardia with a left bundle branch block-like QRS

Lead V1 or V2

Any of following R >30 msec, >60 msec to nadir S, notched S favors VT

Lead V6
Presence of any Q wave, QR or QS favors VT
The absence of a Q wave in lead V6 favors SVT