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Physiol Meas. 2011 Jun;32(6):619-35. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/32/6/001. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Evaluation of a subject-specific transfer-function-based nonlinear QT interval rate-correction method.

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Centre de Recherche, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The QT interval in the electrocardiogram (ECG) is a measure of total duration of depolarization and repolarization. Correction for heart rate is necessary to provide a single intrinsic physiological value that can be compared between subjects and within the same subject under different conditions. Standard formulas for the corrected QT (QTc) do not fully reproduce the complexity of the dependence in the preceding interbeat intervals (RR) and inter-subject variability. In this paper, a subject-specific, nonlinear, transfer function-based correction method is formulated to compute the QTc from Holter ECG recordings. The model includes five parameters: three describing the static QT-RR relationship and two representing memory/hysteresis effects that intervene in the calculation of effective RR values. The parameter identification procedure is designed to minimize QTc fluctuations and enforce zero correlation between QTc and effective RR. Weighted regression is used to better handle unbalanced or skewed RR distributions. The proposed optimization approach provides a general mathematical framework for further extensions of the model. Validation, robustness evaluation and comparison with existing QT correction formulas is performed on ECG signals recorded during sinus rhythm, atrial pacing, tilt-table tests, stress tests and atrial flutter (29 subjects in total). The resulting average modeling error on the QTc is 4.9 ± 1.1 ms with a sampling interval of 2 ms, which outperforms correction formulas currently used. The results demonstrate the benefits of subject-specific rate correction and hysteresis reduction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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