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J Athl Train. 2011 May-Jun;46(3):230-3.

Increased QT interval variability in 3 recently concussed athletes: an exploratory observation.

Author information

1
Center of Excellence on the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury and SCI Service, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10468, USA. michael.lafountaine@va.gov

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The QT interval variability index (QTVI) is a noninvasive measure of beat-to-beat fluctuations of the QT interval as seen from a single electrocardiographic lead. It represents the relationship between the respective variabilities of the QT and R-R intervals. Recently, the QTVI was demonstrated to be an index of vagal cardiac autonomic modulation in resting conditions.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether QTVI varied in athletes at 48 hours, 1 week, and 2 weeks after a concussive head injury.

DESIGN:

Case series.

SETTING:

Testing facility.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

Three athletes with recent concussions and 3 uninjured athletes with similar demographic factors.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Continuous 3-lead electrocardiograms were obtained in a seated, resting position over 2 successive weeks. Separate, unpaired t tests were performed to determine whether group-visit differences were present in the QTVI at 48 hours, 1 week, or 2 weeks.

RESULTS:

No demographic differences were present between groups. At 48 hours, the QTVI was greater in the concussion group than in the matched controls. At weeks 1 and 2, the QTVI in the concussion group was lower than at 48 hours and not different from that of the control group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Vagal cardiac autonomic modulation, as quantified by the QTVI, appeared to be negatively affected in concussed athletes within 48 hours of injury, resolved within 1 week, and remained at control group levels 2 weeks later. Serial assessments of QTVI may be of clinical utility in identifying suspected cases of acute concussion and may provide helpful information for determining when an athlete can return to play safely.

PMID:
21669090
PMCID:
PMC3419549
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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