Prognostic value of QT interval parameters for mortality risk stratification in Chagas' disease: results of a long-term follow-up study

Gil Salles, Sergio Xavier, Andrea Sousa, Alejandro Hasslocher-Moreno, Claudia Cardoso
Circulation 2003 July 22, 108 (3): 305-12

BACKGROUND: QT interval parameters are potential prognostic markers of arrhythmogenicity risk and cardiovascular mortality and have never been evaluated in Chagas' disease.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Outpatients (738) in the chronic phase of Chagas' disease were enrolled in a long-term follow-up study. Maximal heart rate-corrected QT (QTc) and T-wave peak-to-end (TpTe) intervals and QRS, QT, JT, QTapex, and TpTe dispersions and variation coefficients were measured manually and calculated from 12-lead ECGs obtained on admission. Clinical, radiological, and 2-dimensional echocardiographic data were also recorded. Primary end points were all-cause, Chagas' disease-related, and sudden cardiac mortalities. During a follow-up of 58+/-39 months, 62 patients died, 54 of Chagas' disease-related causes and 40 suddenly. Multivariate Cox survival analysis revealed that the QT-interval dispersion (QTd) (hazard ratio, 1.45; 95% confidence interval, 1.29 to 1.63; P<0.001, for 10-ms increments) and left ventricular (LV) end-systolic dimension (hazard ratio, 1.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 1.53; P<0.001, for 5-mm increments) were the strongest independent predictors for all end points. The maximum QTc interval (QTcmax) could substitute for QTd with a worse predictive performance. Other predictors were heart rate, presence of pathological Q waves, frequent premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), and isolated left anterior fascicular block (LAFB) on the ECGs. Kaplan-Meier survival curves demonstrated that a QTd > or =65 ms or a QTcmax > or =465 ms1/2 discriminated the 2 groups with significantly different prognoses.

CONCLUSIONS: Electrocardiographic QTd and echocardiographic LV end-systolic dimension were the most important mortality predictors in patients with Chagas' disease. Heart rate, the presence on ECG of pathological Q waves, frequent PVCs, and isolated LAFB refined the mortality risk stratification.


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