Heart rate-corrected QT interval prolongation predicts risk of coronary heart disease in black and white middle-aged men and women: the ARIC study

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Feb 18;43(4):565-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2003.09.040.


Objectives: We aimed to study the predictive value of heart rate-corrected QT interval (QTc) for incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in the black and white general population, and to validate various QT measurements.

Background: QTc prolongation is associated with higher risk of mortality in cardiac patients and in the general population. Little is known about the association with incident CHD. No previous studies included black populations.

Methods: We studied the predictive value of QTc prolongation in a prospective population study of 14,548 black and white men and women, age 45 to 64 year. QT was determined by the NOVACODE program in the digital electrocardiogram recorded at baseline.

Results: In quintiles of QTc, cardiovascular risk profile deteriorated with longer QTc, and risk of CHD and CVD mortality increased. The high risk in the upper quintile was mostly explained by the 10% with the longest QTc. The age-, gender-, and race-adjusted hazard ratios for CVD mortality and CHD in subjects with the longest 10% relative to the other 90% of the gender-specific QTc distribution were 5.13 (95% confidence interval 3.80 to 6.94) and 2.14 (95% confidence interval 1.71 to 2.69), respectively. The increased risk was partly, but not completely, attributable to other risk factors or the presence of chronic disease. The association was stronger in black than in white subjects. Manual- and machine-coded QT intervals were highly correlated, and the method of rate correction did not affect the observed associations.

Conclusions: Long QTc is associated with increased risk of CHD and CVD mortality in black and white healthy men and women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blacks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Disease / ethnology*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data*