QT dispersion and hypertensive heart disease in the elderly

B Gryglewska, T Grodzicki, D Czarnecka, K Kawecka-Jaszcz, J Kocemba
Journal of Hypertension 2000, 18 (4): 461-4

AIM: To determine the predictors and risk of increased QT dispersion in the elderly hypertensive patients.

METHODS: A 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), M-mode echocardiography and ambulatory blood pressure as well as Holter monitoring were performed for 67 patients over 60 years of age with essential hypertension (I and II(o) WHO). The presence of ischaemic changes on ECG was evaluated based on the Minnesota Code. QT intervals were corrected with Bazett's formulae and QT dispersion was determined as the difference between maximal and minimal QTc intervals. Interventricular septal thickness (IVSTd), left ventricular internal diameter (LVDd) and posterior wall thickness (PWTd) were measured and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) was calculated. Subjects were divided according to the median of QTc dispersion (0.10 s). The differences between groups were assessed using chi-squared and Student's t-test.

RESULTS: Subjects with increased QTc dispersion did not differ from those with low QTc dispersion when age, gender and body mass index were analysed. Similarly, the average systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and blood pressure variability were comparable in both groups. The mean QTc interval was similar in both groups. In patients with increased QT dispersion, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and ischaemic changes on ECG were more frequently recognized (respectively 41.2 versus 18.2%, P < 0.001; 47.1 versus 21.2%, P < 0.05). Moreover, these subjects presented a significantly greater number of premature ventricular beats (317.1 +/- 665.6 versus 64.88 +/- 188.6, P < 0.05) and higher classes of Lown's arrhythmia scale (classes III-IV, 23.35% versus 9.1%). LVMI was insignificantly higher in the group with greater QTc dispersion (165.82 +/- 54.5 versus 145.07 +/- 36.47 g/ m2). Other echocardiographic indices of LVH were similar in both groups. On the other hand, the analysis of regression indicated positive correlation between the dispersion of QTc interval and thickness of left ventricle walls (for IVSd - r = 0.37; for PWd - r = 0.31), relative wall thickness (r = 0.28) and LVMI (r = 0.28).

CONCLUSIONS: QTc dispersion is increased in the elderly hypertensive individuals, with the presence of LVH and myocardial ischaemia on ECG. These patients are more likely to demonstrate severe ventricular dysrhythmias.

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