Background: Syncope is a common chief complaint in the ED, and the electrocardiogram (ECG) is a routine diagnostic tool in the evaluation of syncope. We assessed whether increasingly prolonged QTc intervals are associated with composite 30-day serious outcomes in older adults presenting to the ED with syncope.
Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a prospective, observational study at 11 EDs in adults 60 years or older who presented with syncope or near syncope. We excluded patients presenting without an ECG, measurement of QTc, non-sinus rhythm, bundle branch block or those without 30-day follow-up. We categorized QTc cutoffs into values of <451; 451-470; 471-500, and >500 ms. We determined the rate of composite 30-day serious outcomes including ED serious outcomes and 30-day arrhythmias not identified in ED.
Results: The study cohort included 2609 patients. There were 1678 patients (64.3%) that had QTc intervals <451 ms; 544 (20.8%) were 451-470 ms; 302 (11.6%) were 471-500 ms, and 85 (3.3%) had intervals >500 ms. Composite 30-day serious outcomes was associated with increasingly prolonged QTc intervals (13.0%, 15.3%, 18.2%, 22.4%, p = 0.01), but this association did not persist in multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: In a cohort of older patients presenting with syncope, increased QTc interval was a marker of but was not independently predictive of composite 30-day serious outcomes.
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