The longitudinal time course of QTc in early infancy. Preliminary results of a prospective sudden infant death syndrome surveillance program

J Perinatol. 1991 Mar;11(1):57-62.


Eleven hundred one healthy neonates in Charleston County, SC, were enrolled in a prospective, serial measurement sudden infant death syndrome/QT surveillance program. Automated computer-enhanced ECGs were recorded at 1 day of age in the hospital nursery and again at 1 week and 1, 2, and 3 months in the participant's home. At 1 year, the families were contacted by phone or mail and questioned as to the health of the child. Validation studies demonstrated the computer-enhanced ECGs to be 96% accurate, whereas traditional ECG recording and measurement was 94% accurate. No systematic differences in the QTc according to race and sex were observed. There were parallel longitudinal time courses for each race and sex group with a significant (P less than .001) shortening of the QTc at 1 week. There was no evidence of tracking of the QTc during the first 3 months of life. In conclusion, (1) automated, enhanced ECG QTc intervals are superior to traditional electrocardiography while retaining the advantages of automation; (2) there is a significant shortening of the QTc during the first month of life; and (3) a home follow-up sudden infant death syndrome surveillance program is feasible and produces accurate, reliable information.

MeSH terms

  • Computers
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • South Carolina / epidemiology
  • Sudden Infant Death* / epidemiology