Background: Ventricular arrhythmias are common in patients with mitral valve prolapse (MVP). Previous studies have provided evidence that a higher degree of systolic mitral valve displacement and the presence of a thickened anterior mitral leaflet are related to an increased incidence of complex ventricular arrhythmias and risk of sudden death in these patients. The aim of our study was to investigate whether QT dispersion in patients with MVP is associated with the echocardiographic degree of the prolapse and mitral leaflet thickness.
Methods: QT and JT intervals and dispersions were measured in 89 patients with primary mitral valve prolapse (26 men and 63 women with mean age 39 +/- 14 years). All patients underwent a full echocardiographic examination and a scoring system was used to determine the degree of MVP. Anterior mitral leaflet thickness was also measured. Twenty-four hour Holter monitoring was used to assess ventricular arrhythmogenesis.
Results: According to their echocardiographic score. patients were divided into three groups (Group A. B and C) reflecting the different degrees of the prolapse. QT dispersion in patients with the highest degree of MVP, i.e. Group C was significantly greater (65 +/- 13 ms) than that of the other two groups (Group A: 38 +/- 14 ms, P<0.005 and Group B: 45 +/- 12 ms, P<0.005). Similar differences between groups were also found for JT dispersion. Multiple regression analysis revealed that among the demographic and clinical variables that were tested, only the echocardiographic degree of the prolapse and anterior mitral leaflet thickness were independently associated with QT dispersion. Holter monitoring showed that the incidence of complex ventricular arrhythmias was also higher in patients with more severe MVP.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that QT and JT dispersions are related to the echocardiographic degree of MVP and mitral leaflet thickness. The echocardiographic assessment of the severity of the prolapse may help to identify a subgroup of patients at increased risk of life-threatening arrhythmias.