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Acad Emerg Med. 2015 Oct;22(10):1139-44. doi: 10.1111/acem.12752. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

The Half RR Rule: A Poor Rule of Thumb and Not a Risk Assessment Tool for QT Interval Prolongation.

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Department of Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacology, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Clinical Toxicology Research Group, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.



Measuring the QT interval on an electrocardiogram (ECG) is integral to risk assessment of Torsade de Pointes (TdP). This study aimed to investigate the accuracy of the 1/2 RR rule as a risk assessment tool for drug-induced TdP, comparing it to the QT nomogram, Bazett's corrected QT (QTcB), and Fridericia's corrected QT (QTcF).


The authors calculated sensitivity and specificity of the 1/2 RR rule using a published data set of 129 cases of drug-induced TdP and 316 controls (noncardiotoxic overdoses), compared to the QT nomogram, QTcB > 500 msec and QTcF > 500 msec. To further determine the value of the 1/2 RR rule, its observed positive, and negative agreement were calculated when compared to the QT nomogram for determining an abnormal QT in eight samples of different drugs in overdose.


The sensitivity and specificity of the 1/2 RR rule were 88% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 80% to 93%) and 53% (95% CI = 47% to 58%), respectively, compared to the QT nomogram (sensitivity = 97%, 95% CI = 92% to 99%; specificity = 99%, 95% CI = 97% to 100%). It was also less sensitive than QTcB > 500 msec and had a lower specificity than QTcB > 500 msec and QTcF > 500 msec. In drug overdose patients, the 1/2 RR rule had poor observed agreement averaging 41%, which was mainly due to poor positive agreement, except for amisulpride where there was good agreement.


The 1/2 RR rule was not as sensitive as the QT nomogram or QTcB > 500 msec for drug-induced TdP. It had poor positive agreement in almost all overdose patients, resulting in over half of patients receiving unnecessary cardiac monitoring and repeat ECGs.

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