Cardiac Events During Competitive, Recreational, and Daily Activities in Children and Adolescents With Long QT Syndrome

J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Sep 21;6(9):e005445. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.005445.


Background: The 2005 Bethesda Conference Guidelines advise patients with long QT syndrome against competitive sports. We assessed cardiac event rates during competitive and recreational sports, and daily activities among treated long QT syndrome patients.

Methods and results: Long QT syndrome patients aged ≥4 years treated with anti-adrenergic therapy were included. Demographics included mechanism of presentation, corrected QT interval pretreatment, symptom history, medication compliance, and administration of QT-prolonging medications. Corrected QT interval ≥550 ms or prior cardiac arrest defined high risk. Sports were categorized by cardiovascular demand per the 2005 Bethesda Conference Guidelines. Each was classified as recreational or competitive. One hundred seventy-two patients (90; 52% female) with median age 15.2 years (interquartile range 11.4, 19.4) were included. Evaluation was performed for family history (102; 59%), incidental finding (34; 20%), and symptoms (36; 21%). Median corrected QT interval was 474 ms (interquartile range 446, 496) and 14 patients (8%) were deemed high risk. Treatment included β-blockers (171; 99%), implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (27; 16%), left cardiac sympathetic denervation (7; 4%), and pacemaker (3; 2%). Sports participation was recreational (66; 38%) or competitive (106; 62%), with 92 (53%) exercising against the Bethesda Conference Guidelines. There were no cardiac events in competitive athletes and no deaths. There were 13 cardiac events in 9 previously symptomatic patients during either recreational exercise or activities of daily life.

Conclusions: In this cohort of appropriately managed children with long QT syndrome, cardiac event rates were low and occurred during recreational but not competitive activities. This study further supports the need for increased assessment of arrhythmia risk during exercise in this patient population.

Keywords: arrhythmia; cardiac arrest; exercise; long QT syndrome; syncope.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Long QT Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Long QT Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Long QT Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Sports / physiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult