QT interval variability in body surface ECG: measurement, physiological basis, and clinical value: position statement and consensus guidance endorsed by the European Heart Rhythm Association jointly with the ESC Working Group on Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology

Europace. 2016 Jun;18(6):925-44. doi: 10.1093/europace/euv405. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


This consensus guideline discusses the electrocardiographic phenomenon of beat-to-beat QT interval variability (QTV) on surface electrocardiograms. The text covers measurement principles, physiological basis, and clinical value of QTV. Technical considerations include QT interval measurement and the relation between QTV and heart rate variability. Research frontiers of QTV include understanding of QTV physiology, systematic evaluation of the link between QTV and direct measures of neural activity, modelling of the QTV dependence on the variability of other physiological variables, distinction between QTV and general T wave shape variability, and assessing of the QTV utility for guiding therapy. Increased QTV appears to be a risk marker of arrhythmic and cardiovascular death. It remains to be established whether it can guide therapy alone or in combination with other risk factors. QT interval variability has a possible role in non-invasive assessment of tonic sympathetic activity.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; ECG; Heart rate variability; QT interval variability; Repolarization; Sympathetic activity.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Electrophysiology / standards*
  • Consensus
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Societies, Medical