Clinical determinants of increased QT dispersion in patients with diabetes mellitus

C Cardoso, G Salles, K Bloch, W Deccache, A G Siqueira-Filho
International Journal of Cardiology 2001, 79 (2): 253-62

AIMS: To compare QT dispersion measurements in diabetic patients to control subjects and assess any associations between QT dispersion and diabetic clinical characteristics.

METHODS: A total of 512 diabetics and 50 age and gender matched controls were studied. QT interval was measured manually in 12-lead conventional electrocardiograms, and QT dispersion (QTd), heart rate-corrected QT dispersion (QTcd), number of leads-adjusted QT dispersion (adjuQTd) and adjacent QT dispersion (adjaQTd) were calculated. Demographic, clinical, laboratory and electrocardiographic data were recorded.

RESULTS: Diabetics showed increased QT dispersion compared to controls (QTd: P<0.001, QTcd: P<0.001, adjuQTd: P<0.001), even those with recent diagnosis (less than 2 years) and without arterial hypertension, ECG abnormalities or chronic degenerative complications (QTd: P=0.01, QTcd: P<0.001, adjuQTd: P=0.04). Left ventricular hypertrophy (QTd: P<0.001, QTcd: P<0.001, adjuQTd: P<0.001, adjaQTd: P<0.001) and conduction disturbances (QTd: P=0.002, QTcd: P=0.003, adjuQTd: P=0.003) were the electrocardiographic findings associated with increased QT dispersion in bivariate analysis. Clinical variables were the presence of arterial hypertension (QTd: P=0.004, QTcd: P=0.01, adjuQTd: P<0.001), even without left ventricular hypertrophy (QTd: P=0.01, QTcd: P=0.03, adjuQTd: P=0.003), and the presence of diabetic cardiovascular complications (QTd: P=0.02, QTcd: P=0.01, adjuQTd: P=0.008, adjaQTd: P=0.03). No association between QT dispersion and the presence of diabetic microvascular complications, glycaemic control, age and gender, or cardiovascular drugs was observed. Multivariate regressive statistical analysis confirmed the associations noted in bivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Diabetic patients have increased QT dispersion compared to non-diabetics even those without arterial hypertension and cardiovascular complications and with recent diagnosis. The presence of arterial hypertension, diabetic cardiovascular complications and electrocardiographic abnormalities of left ventricular hypertrophy and conduction disturbances were associated to increased QT dispersion in diabetes mellitus.

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