Aims: QT variability is a promising electrocardiographic marker. It has been studied as a screening tool for coronary artery disease and left ventricular hypertrophy, and increased QT variability is a known risk factor for sudden cardiac death. Considering that comprehensive normal values for QT variability were lacking, we set out to establish these in standard 10-s electrocardiograms (ECGs) covering both sexes and all ages. Methods: Ten-second, 12-lead ECGs were provided by five Dutch population studies (Pediatric Normal ECG Study, Leiden University Einthoven Science Project, Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-stage Disease Study, Utrecht Health Project, Rotterdam Study). ECGs were recorded digitally and processed by well-validated analysis software. We selected cardiologically healthy participants, 46% being women. Ages ranged from 11 days to 91 years. After quality control, 13,828 ECGs were available. We assessed three markers: standard deviation of QT intervals (SDqt), short-term QT variability (STVqt), and QT variability index (QTVI). Results: For SDqt and STVqt, the median and the lower limit of normal remained stable with age. The upper limit of normal declined until around age 45, and increased strongly in the elderly, notably so in women. This implies that a subset of the population, small enough not to have appreciable effect on the median, shows a high degree of QT variability with a possible risk of arrhythmias or worse, especially in women. Otherwise, sex differences were negligible in all three measurements. For QTVI, median, and normal limits decreased until age 20, and steadily went up afterwards except for the lower limit of normal, which flattens off after age 65. Conclusion: We report the first set of normal values for QT variability based on 10-s ECGs, for all ages and both sexes.

, , , , ,,
Frontiers in Physiology
Department of Medical Informatics

van den Berg, M., Kors, J., van Herpen, G., Bots, M., Hillege, H. (Hans), Swenne, C., … Rijnbeek, P. (2019). Normal Values of QT Variability in 10-s Electrocardiograms for all Ages. Frontiers in Physiology, 10. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.01272