QTc intervals are not prolonged in former ELBW infants at pre-adolescent age

Pediatr Res. 2022 Sep;92(3):848-852. doi: 10.1038/s41390-021-01877-w. Epub 2021 Dec 2.


Background: Whether preterm birth is associated with cardiac conduction or repolarization abnormalities in later life is still poorly explored, with conflicting data on QTc prolongation in former extreme low birth weight (ELBW, <1000 g) infants.

Methods: Twelve lead electrocardiograms (ECG) at rest, collected in the PREMATurity as predictor of children's Cardiovascular-renal Health (PREMATCH) study in former ELBW cases and term controls during pre-adolescence (8-14 years) were analyzed on corrected QT time (QTc, Bazett) and QT dispersion (QTd). ECG findings were compared between groups (Mann-Whitney), and associations with clinical and biochemical findings were explored (Spearman). In ELBW cases, associations between QTc and perinatal characteristics (at birth, neonatal stay) were explored (Mann-Whitney, Spearman).

Results: QTc and QTd were similar between 93 ELBW cases and 87 controls [409 (range 360-465) versus 409 (337-460); 40 (0-100) versus 39 (0-110)] ms. Age, height, weight, or body mass index were not associated with the QTc interval, while female sex (median difference 11.4 ms) and lower potassium (r = -0.26) were associated with longer QTc interval. We could not observe any significant association between QTc interval and perinatal characteristics.

Conclusions: There were no differences in QTc or QTd between ELBW and term controls in ECGs at rest in pre-adolescents.

Impact: This study aimed to assess the differences in QTc and QTd intervals between extreme low birth weight infants (ELBW) and term controls in electrocardiographic measurements at rest during pre-adolescence. This analysis confirmed the absence of significant differences in QTc or QTd findings between ELBW cases and term controls, while female sex and lower potassium were associated with a prolonged QTc interval. These data suggest that QTc screening strategies-including for pharmacovigilance-should not differentiate between former ELBW cases and term controls.

Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT02147457.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Long QT Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Potassium
  • Premature Birth*


  • Potassium

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02147457