Short QT syndrome

CMAJ. 2005 Nov 22;173(11):1349-54. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.050596.


The QT interval on an electrocardiogram signifies the time required for the heart to repolarize after depolarization. It has long been appreciated that a long QT interval predisposes patients to life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia. Short QT syndrome is a newly described disease characterized by a shortened QT interval and by episodes of syncope, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation or life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. The syndrome usually affects young and healthy people with no structural heart disease and may be present in sporadic cases as well as in families. Our understanding of a new disease has rarely benefitted so quickly from research in genetics, molecular biology and biophysics. It was first described in 2000 in a handful of patients, and since then 3 different genes associated with the disease and the biophysical basis have been described, and therapy has been made available. Here we review the current understanding of the pathophysiology, clinical presentation and treatment of short QT syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Syndrome


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Potassium Channels