BACKGROUND: Short-term variability of the QT interval (STVQT) has been proposed as a novel electrophysiological marker for the prediction of imminent ventricular arrhythmias in animal models. Our aim is to study whether STVQT can predict imminent ventricular arrhythmias in patients. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 2331 patients with primary prophylactic implantable cardioverter defibrillators, 24-hour ECG Holter recordings were obtained as part of the EU-CERT-ICD (European Comparative Effectiveness Research to Assess the Use of Primary Prophylactic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators) study. ECG Holter recordings showing ventricular arrhythmias of >4 consecutive complexes were selected for the arrhythmic groups (n=170), whereas a control group was randomly selected from the remaining Holter recordings (n=37). STVQT was determined from 31 beats with fiducial segment averaging and calculated as ∑ � �Dn+1−Dn � � ∕ � 30× √ 2 � , where Dn represents the QT interval. STVQT was determined before the ventricular arrhythmia or 8:00 am in the control group and between 1:30 and 4:30 am as baseline. STVQT at baseline was 0.84±0.47 ms and increased to 1.18±0.74 ms (P<0.05) before the ventricular arrhythmia, whereas the STVQT in the control group remained unchanged. The arrhythmic patients were divided into three groups based on the severity of the arrhythmia: (1) nonsustained ventricular arrhythmia (n=32), (2) nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (n=134), (3) sustained ventricular tachycardia (n=4). STVQT increased before nonsustained ventricular arrhythmia, nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, and sustained ventricular tachycardia from 0.80±0.43 ms to 1.18±0.78 ms (P<0.05), from 0.90±0.49 ms to 1.14±0.70 ms (P<0.05), and from 1.05±0.22 ms to 2.33±1.25 ms (P<0.05). This rise in STVQT was significantly higher in sustained ventricular tachycardia compared with nonsustained ventricular arrhythmia (+1.28±1.05 ms versus +0.24±0.57 ms [P<0.05]) and compared with nonsustained ventricular arrhythmia (+0.34±0.87 ms [P<0.05]). CONCLUSIONS: STVQT increases before imminent ventricular arrhythmias in patients, and the extent of the increase is associated with the severity of the ventricular arrhythmia.

short-term variability of repolarization ■ ventricular arrhythmia ■ ventricular tachycardia,
Department of Medical Informatics

Smoczyńska, A., Loen, V., Sprenkeler, D.J., Tuinenburg, A.E., Ritsema van Eck, H.J, Malik, M., … de Vos, M.A. (2020). Short-Term Variability of the QT Interval Can be Used for the Prediction of Imminent Ventricular Arrhythmias in Patients With Primary Prophylactic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators. Stroke, 9(23). doi:10.1161/jaha.120.018133