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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1995 Jul;26(1):174-9.

Dispersion of QT interval in patients with and without susceptibility to ventricular tachyarrhythmias after previous myocardial infarction.

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Department of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland.



The aim of this study was to estimate the value of QT dispersion measurement from the standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) in identifying patients susceptible to reentrant ventricular tachyarrhythmias after a previous myocardial infarction.


Variability in QT interval duration on the different leads of the 12-lead ECG has been proposed as an indicator of risk for ventricular arrhythmias in different clinical settings, but the value of QT dispersion measurement in identifying patients at risk for reentrant ventricular tachyarrhythmias after myocardial infarction is not known.


The QT interval duration, QT dispersion and clinical and angiographic variables were compared between 30 healthy subjects; 40 patients with a previous myocardial infarction but no history of arrhythmic events or inducible ventricular tachycardia during programmed electrical stimulation; and 30 postinfarction patients with a history of cardiac arrest (n = 12) or sustained ventricular tachycardia (n = 18) and inducible, sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia by electrical stimulation.


Dispersion of the corrected QT interval (QTc) differed significantly between the study groups and was significantly increased in patients with susceptibility to ventricular tachyarrhythmias ([mean +/- SD] 104 +/- 41 ms) compared with that in both healthy subjects (38 +/- 14 ms, p < 0.001) and postinfarction patients with no susceptibility to arrhythmias (65 +/- 31 ms, p < 0.001). Maximal QT interval duration was also prolonged in the group with arrhythmias compared with that in the other groups (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis, including clinical and angiographic variables, QT dispersion and maximal QT interval, showed that QT dispersion was the independent factor that most effectively identified the patient groups with and without susceptibility to ventricular tachyarrhythmias (p < 0.001).


Increased QT dispersion is related to susceptibility to reentrant ventricular tachyarrhythmias, independent of degree of left ventricular dysfunction or clinical characteristics of the patient, suggesting that the simple, noninvasive measurement of this interval from a standard 12-lead ECG makes a significant contribution to identifying patients at risk for life-threatening arrhythmias after a previous myocardial infarction.

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