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Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2018 Jan-Mar;8(1):28-35. doi: 10.4103/IJCIIS.IJCIIS_59_17.

Prevalence and prognostic significance of prolonged QTc interval in emergency medical patients: A prospective observational study.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.



QTc interval is affected by many factors and prolongation of same may have prognostic significance. A significant number of patients admitted in medical emergency are acutely ill, have multiple comorbidities and are on medications, all of these factors might affect QTc interval and prognosis.

Materials and Methods:

Single-center, prospective, observational study was carried out on 279 patients of different illnesses recruited from emergency medical services attached to the Department of Internal Medicine at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India, a tertiary care hospital.


Out of 279 patients, 95 were found to have prolonged QTc interval with the prevalence of 34.1%. Fifteen patients (5.4%) had markedly prolonged QTc interval (QTc >500 ms). Of various medical conditions, we found statistically significantly higher number of patients of chronic kidney disease (P = 0.047), chronic liver disease (P < 0.001), hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident (P = 0.026), and heart failure (P = 0.009) with prolonged QTc interval. Among laboratory abnormalities, patients with low hemoglobin (P = 0.032), with deranged renal functions (P = 0.033), and with hypokalemia (P = 0.026) had a greater share of patients with prolonged QTc interval. There was no difference in duration of hospital stay and frequency of hospital mortality between two groups, although, on subgroup analysis, patients with markedly prolonged QTc interval had significantly higher hospital mortality (P = 0.029). The frequency of ventricular tachycardia was also significantly higher in patients with prolonged QTc interval (P = 0.008).


High prevalence of prolonged QTc interval was found in Indian emergency medical patients. There was no difference in hospital mortality though on subgroup analysis, patients with markedly prolonged QTc interval had significantly more episodes of in-hospital ventricular tachycardia and hospital mortality.


Electrocardiography; QTc interval; emergency medical services; ventricular tachycardia

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