Dynamics of ventricular repolarization in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy versus healthy subjects

Jose Luis Alonso, Pablo Martínez, Montserrat Vallverdú, Iwona Cygankiewicz, Maria Vittoria Pitzalis, Antoni Bayés Genís, Juan Cinca, Paolo Rizzon, Pere Caminal, Wojciech Zareba, Antoni Bayés de Luna
Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology 2005, 10 (2): 121-8

BACKGROUND: Patients with impaired left ventricular function have a high risk of developing ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death. Among different markers of risk, the prolongation and regional heterogeneity of repolarization are of increasing interest. However, there are limited data regarding feasibility of analyzing repolarization parameters and their dynamics in 24-hour Holter ECG recordings.

METHODS: Dynamic behavior of repolarization parameters was studied with a new automatic algorithm in digital 24-hour Holter recordings of 60 healthy subjects and 55 patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC). Repolarization parameters included the mean value of QT and QTc durations, QT dispersion, and peaks of QT duration and QT dispersion above prespecified thresholds.

RESULTS: In comparison to healthy subjects, patients with IDC had lower heart rate variability, longer mean QT and QTc durations, higher content of QTc peaks >500 ms, longer QT dispersion and its standard deviation, and a higher content of peaks >100 ms of QT dispersion (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). These repolarization parameters were significantly higher in IDC patients after adjustment for age, sex, and heart rate variability. The parameters of repolarization dynamics correlated with SDNN in healthy subjects but not in dilated cardiomyopathy patients.

CONCLUSIONS: The automatic assessment of repolarization parameters in 24-hour digital ECG recordings is feasible and differentiates dilated cardiomyopathy patients from healthy subjects. Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy have increased QT duration, QT dispersion, and increased variability of QT dispersion reflecting variations in T-wave morphology, the factors which might predispose them to the development of arrhythmic events.


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