Autonomic neuropathy and QT interval in hemodialysed patients

Simona Maule, Massimo Veglio, Fabio Mecca, Chiara Calvo, Guido Martina, Martino Marangella, Roberto Quadri, Paolo Cavallo Perin
Clinical Autonomic Research: Official Journal of the Clinical Autonomic Research Society 2004, 14 (4): 233-9

BACKGROUND: QT interval prolongation increases the risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death in diabetic autonomic neuropathy and ischemic heart disease. In end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the effects of hemodialysis on QT interval are diverse and the influence of autonomic neuropathy has yet to be clearly defined.

METHODS: Sixty-nine ERSD patients (age 64 +/- 14) were studied. Prior to the dialysis session, patients underwent four standard autonomic cardiovascular tests; before and after the dialysis session, a 12-lead ECG was recorded. Corrected QT intervals (QTc) were measured and QT dispersion (QTd) was calculated. Twelve subjects (age 59 +/- 6) with normal renal function served as control group.

RESULTS: Compared to controls, ESRD patients showed a longer QTc (434 +/- 26 vs 414 +/- 28 ms; p = 0.016) and a similar QTd (35 +/- 13 vs 37 +/- 14 ms; p = 0.54).QTc was > 440 ms in 33.3% of the patients. No difference in the prevalence or score of autonomic neuropathy was observed between the subgroups with and without a prolonged QTc. After the hemodialysis session, QTc increased in 56% and decreased in 43% of the patients, and QTd increased in 45 % and decreased in 55% of the patients. QTc and QTd changes were not related to the presence of autonomic neuropathy.

CONCLUSIONS: A large variability in QTc and QTd response was observed after hemodialysis. Autonomic neuropathy did not contribute to QTc and QTd length, nor to QTc and QTd change after dialysis.

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