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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 27;9(1):e86524. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086524. eCollection 2014.

Spatial repolarization heterogeneity detected by magnetocardiography correlates with cardiac iron overload and adverse cardiac events in beta-thalassemia major.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Medical Imaging, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
Institute of Electro-optical Science and Technology, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Physics, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia major (TM) are at risk for myocardial iron overload and cardiac complications. Spatial repolarization heterogeneity is known to be elevated in patients with certain cardiac diseases, but little is known in TM patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate spatial repolarization heterogeneity in patients with TM, and to investigate the relationships between spatial repolarization heterogeneity, cardiac iron load, and adverse cardiac events.


Fifty patients with TM and 55 control subjects received 64-channel magnetocardiography (MCG) to determine spatial repolarization heterogeneity, which was evaluated by a smoothness index of QTc (SI-QTc), a standard deviation of QTc (SD-QTc), and a QTc dispersion. Left ventricular function and myocardial T2* values were assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance. Patients with TM had significantly greater SI-QTc, SD-QTc, and QTc dispersion compared to the control subjects (all p values<0.001). Spatial repolarization heterogeneity was even more pronounced in patients with significant iron overload (T2*<20 ms, n = 20) compared to those with normal T2* (all p values<0.001). Loge cardiac T2* correlated with SI-QTc (r = -0.609, p<0.001), SD-QTc (r = -0.572, p<0.001), and QTc dispersion (r = -0.622, p<0.001), while all these indices had no relationship with measurements of the left ventricular geometry or function. At the time of study, 10 patients had either heart failure or arrhythmia. All 3 indices of repolarization heterogeneity were related to the presence of adverse cardiac events, with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (ranged between 0.79 and 0.86), similar to that of cardiac T2*.


Multichannel MCG demonstrated that patients with TM had increased spatial repolarization heterogeneity, which is related to myocardial iron load and adverse cardiac events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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