QT dynamics and variability

Wojciech Zareba, Antoni Bayes de Luna
Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology 2005, 10 (2): 256-62
Repolarization dynamics and variability are of increasing interest as Holter-derived parameters reflecting changes in myocardial vulnerability and contributing to increased risk of arrhythmic events and sudden death. Repolarization dynamics is usually defined as phenomenon describing and quantifying QT adaptation to changing heart rate. The analysis of QT-R-R slopes in long ECG recordings is one of the ways to evaluate repolarization dynamics. Increased QT-R-R slopes are frequently observed in patients at risk for cardiac death and arrhythmic events: postinfarction patients, long QT syndrome patients, patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy as well as in patients taking drugs affecting repolarization. QT variability reflects beat-to-beat changes in repolarization duration and morphology and such changes can be quantified using a number of algorithms currently in various phases of development and validation. Increased QT variability is observed in several conditions with increased risk of arrhythmias. Recent data from MADIT II indicate that increased QT variability is a powerful predictor of arrhythmic events in postinfarction patients with left ventricular dysfunction. More studies are needed to determine further the potential clinical usefulness for diagnosing patients and for risk stratification purposes using both QT dynamics and QT variability methods, and compare these methods with exercise-induced T wave alternans.


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