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Circulation. 2010 Oct 5;122(14):1355-63. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.960377. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Transmural differences in myocardial contraction in long-QT syndrome: mechanical consequences of ion channel dysfunction.

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Department of Cardiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



Long-QT syndrome (LQTS) is characterized by prolonged myocardial action potential duration. The longest action potential duration is reported in the endomyocardium and midmyocardium. Prolonged action potential duration in LQTS may cause prolonged cardiac contraction, which can be assessed by strain echocardiography. We hypothesized that myocardial contraction is most prolonged in subendocardial myofibers in LQTS patients and that inhomogeneous transmural contraction is related to the risk of spontaneous arrhythmia.


We included 101 genotyped LQTS mutation carriers and 35 healthy individuals. A history of cardiac arrhythmias was present in 48 mutations carriers, and 53 were asymptomatic. Myocardial contraction duration was assessed by strain echocardiography as time from the ECG Q wave to peak strain in 16 LV segments. Strain was assessed along the longitudinal axis, predominantly representing subendocardial fibers, and along the circumferential axis, representing midmyocardial fibers. Mean contraction duration was longer in LQTS mutation carriers compared with healthy individuals (445 ± 45 versus 390 ± 40 milliseconds; P<0.001) and longer in symptomatic compared with asymptomatic LQTS mutation carriers (460 ± 40 versus 425 ± 45 milliseconds; P<0.001). Contraction duration by longitudinal strain was longer than by circumferential strain in symptomatic LQTS patients (460 ± 45 versus 445±45 milliseconds; P=0.008) but not in asymptomatic patients and healthy individuals, indicating transmural mechanical dispersion. This time difference was present in a majority of LV segments and was most evident in patients with LQT2 and the Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome.


Contraction duration in symptomatic LQTS mutation carriers was longer in the subendocardium than in the midmyocardium, indicating transmural mechanical dispersion, which was not present in asymptomatic and healthy individuals.

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