Is myocardial repolarization duration associated with repolarization heterogeneity?

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Dispersion of repolarization is theorized as one mechanism by which myocardial repolarization prolongation causes lethal torsades de pointes, (TdP). Our primary purpose was to determine whether prolongation of myocardial repolarization as measured by the heart rate-corrected J-to-T peak interval (JTpkc), is associated with repolarization heterogeneity as measured by transmural dispersion, defined as the median duration from the peak to the end of the T wave (TpTe).


A retrospective cohort study was performed at a single urban tertiary ED from July 2011–September 2012. Inclusion criteria included all consecutive ED patients with ECG based on QTc and QRS intervals. Automated measurements of all intervals were performed. The association of JTpkc with the dependent variable TpTe was assessed after adjustment for QRS and RR interval durations with a multiple linear regression model. A secondary analysis included a similar adjusted assessment of the association of JTpkc with QT dispersion, QTd. Finally, we constructed two multiple regression models to assess the association of clinical causative factors of TdP with TpTe and JTpkc.


Eight hundred seventy-four cases were included: 186 with QTc <500 ms, 118 with QTc ≥500 and QRS ≥120 ms, and 570 with QTc ≥500 and QRS <120 ms. The coefficient for association of JTpkc with TpTe was −0.10 (95%CI −0.15 to −0.05), and for JTpkc with QTd was 0.03 (95% CI −0.01 to 0.06). Clinical causative TdP factors were associated more with JTpkc than TpTe.


Repolarization duration as measured by JTpkc is not positively associated with dispersion of repolarization as measured by TpTe or QTd. Dispersion of repolarization may not be a critical mechanistic link between QTc prolongation and TdP.

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