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Dispersion of QT and QTc interval in healthy children, and effects of sinus arrhythmia on QT dispersion


Objective To determine the normal values of QT and QTc dispersion and the effects of sinus arrhythmia on QT dispersion in healthy children.

Patients and setting The study was carried out in a university hospital on 372 local schoolchildren (200 male, 172 female), aged seven to 18 years.

Methods The QT and preceding RR intervals of at least one sinus beat were measured manually in a range of nine to 12 leads on standard 12 lead surface ECGs. The corrected QT interval was computed by the method of Bazett. Dispersion of QT and QTc were defined as (1) the difference between the maximum and minimum QT and QTc intervals occurring in any of the 12 leads (QTD and QTcD), (2) the standard deviation of the QT and QTc interval in the measurable leads (QT-SD and QTc-SD).

Results There was no significant difference in QT, QTc, and RR dispersion between girls and boys. Overall 53% of children had sinus arrhythmia. Although QTD and QT-SD were not affected by sinus arrhythmia, both QTcD and QTc-SD were significantly greater in children with sinus arrhythmia than in those without (QTcD: 52.9 (17.4) v40.9 (13.1); QTc-SD: 17.5 (5.9) v 13.2 (4.0); p < 0.001).

Conclusions As calculation of QTc dispersion is affected by sinus arrhythmia, which is common in childhood, we suggest that QT dispersion should not be corrected for heart rate in children.

  • QT dispersion
  • heart rate
  • children
  • sinus arrhythmia

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