QT-interval parameters are increased in systemic lupus erythematosus patients

C R L Cardoso, M A O Sales, J A S Papi, G F Salles
Lupus 2005, 14 (10): 846-52
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients have increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. QT-interval parameters are presumed markers of cardiovascular risk and have not been previously evaluated in SLE. Standard 12-lead ECGs were obtained from 140 female SLE outpatients and 37 age and body mass index-matched controls. QT interval was measured in each lead and heart rate-corrected maximum QT-interval duration (QTcmax) and QT-interval dispersion (QTd) were calculated. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and lupus clinical features, disease treatment, disease activity and damage index were recorded. SLE patients have increased QT-interval parameters when compared to controls (QTcmax: 427.91 +/- 31.53 ms(1/2) versus 410.05 +/- 15.45 ms(1/2), P < 0.001; QTd: 52.38 +/- 22.21 ms versus 37.12 +/- 12.88 ms, P < 0.001). These differences persisted after excluding those patients with arterial hypertension, diabetes and with ECG abnormalities (QTcmax: 419.90 +/- 28.78 ms(1/2) versus 409.15 +/- 15.85 ms(1/2), P = 0.041; QTd: 54.74 +/- 26.00 ms versus 37.96 +/- 13.05 ms, P = 0.001). Multivariate linear regression for factors associated with QTcmax selected the presence of electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy (ECG-LVH) (P = 0.003), nonspecific ST-T-wave abnormalities (P = 0.022) and left atrial enlargement (P = 0.044). Multivariate associates with QTd were age (P = 0.018), ECG-LVH (P = 0.022) and ST-T abnormalities (P = 0.031). In conclusion, SLE patients have increased QT interval parameters when compared to controls. This prolongation may lead to an increased cardiovascular risk. This finding might be due to subclinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.


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