Prolongation of the Q-T Interval in a Victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Cause or Effect?

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A 3-week-old infant died of sudden infant death syndrome (crib death, cot death). Although prolongation of the Q-T interval was found on an electrocardiogram taken at birth, this child appeared to have died of terminal respiratory failure as judged by a postmortem arterial oxygen tension of 4 mm Hg. The heart showed right ventricular hypertrophy, a finding consistent with chronic hypoxemia. The prolongation of the Q-T interval may have contributed to the death of this child with hypoxia predisposing to a fatal episode of ventricular fibrillation.

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