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Niger Med J. 2013 Nov;54(6):382-5. doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.126288.

Cardiac autonomic dysfunction in sickle cell anaemia and its correlation with QT parameters.

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Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.
Department of Physiology, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.



Abnormalities of QT parameters together with cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN) confer significant risks of cardiac morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus. We questioned whether or not CAN influences occurrence of QT interval prolongation and dispersion in patients with sickle cell anaemia (SCA).


Forty stable adult sickle cell patients with 44 healthy haemoglobin AA controls were studied. Baseline electrocardiograms were obtained and cardiovascular autonomic function tests were performed using standard protocols.


Mean corrected QT (QTc) in sickle cell patients was significantly higher (P = 0.001) than the mean of controls. Similarly, mean QT dispersion (QTcd) was higher (P = 0.001) in the former than in the latter. Mean QTc in patients with CAN was longer than patients with normal autonomic function (461 ± 26 ms versus 411 ± 23 ms), P = 0.001 (OR of 17.1, CI 3.48-83.71). Similarly, QTcd was higher (P = 0.001) in patients with CAN than those with normal cardiac autonomic function. Positive correlations were found between CAN with QTc and QTcd (r = 0.604, P = 0.001, r = 0.523, P = 0.001, respectively).


CAN is a risk factor for abnormalities of QT parameters in SCA and both may be harbinger for cardiac death.


Cardiac arrhythmias; QTc; cardiac autonomic neuropathy; sickle cell anaemia

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