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Diabetes Metab J. 2013 Jun;37(3):190-5. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2013.37.3.190. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Corrected QT Interval Prolongation during Severe Hypoglycemia without Hypokalemia in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Carollo Hospital, Suncheon, Korea.



To evaluate the effects of severe hypoglycemia without hypokalemia on the electrocardiogram in patients with type 2 diabetes in real-life conditions.


Electrocardiograms of adult type 2 diabetic patients during the episodes of severe hypoglycemia and the recovered stage were obtained and analysed between October 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. Patients who maintained the normal serum sodium and potassium levels during the episodes of severe hypoglycemia were only selected as the subjects of this study. Severe hypoglycemia was defined, in this study, as the condition requiring active medical assistance such as administering carbohydrate when serum glucose level was less than 60 mg/dL.


Nine type 2 diabetes patients (seven men, two women) were included in the study. The mean subject age was 73.2±7.7 years. The mean hemoglobin A1c level was 6.07%±1.19%. The median duration of diabetes was 10 years (range, 3.5 to 30 years). Corrected QT (QTc) intervals were significantly increased during the episodes of severe hypoglycemia compared to the recovered stage (447.6±18.2 ms vs. 417.2±30.6 ms; P<0.05). However, the morphology and the amplitude of the T waves were not changed and ST-segment elevation and/or depression were not found during the episodes of severe hypoglycemia.


In this study, QTc interval prolongation during the episodes of severe hypoglycemia was observed without hypokalemia. Therefore, the distinct alterations in cardiac repolarization during the episodes of severe hypoglycemia may not be associated with hypokalemia.


Diabetes mellitus, type 2; Electrocardiography; QT interval; Severe hypoglycemia

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