Provocation testing in congenital long QT syndrome: A practical guide

Heart Rhythm. 2023 Nov;20(11):1570-1582. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2023.07.059. Epub 2023 Jul 20.


Congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a hereditary cardiac channelopathy with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 2500. A prolonged resting QT interval corrected for heart rate (QTc interval) remains a key diagnostic component; however, the QTc value may be normal in up to 40% of patients with genotype-positive LQTS and borderline in a further 30%. Provocation of QTc prolongation and T-wave changes may be pivotal to unmasking the diagnosis and useful in predicting genotype. LQTS provocation testing involves assessment of repolarization during and after exercise, in response to changes in heart rate or autonomic tone, with patients with LQTS exhibiting a maladaptive repolarization response. We review the utility and strengths and limitations of 4 forms of provocation testing-stand-up test, exercise stress test, epinephrine challenge, and mental stress test-in diagnosing LQTS and provide some practical guidance for performing provocation testing. Ultimately, exercise testing, when feasible, is the most useful form of provocation testing when considering diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.

Keywords: Congenital long QT; LQT1; LQT2; LQT3; LQTS; Long QT; Practical guide; Provocation testing; QTc.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Electrocardiography*
  • Epinephrine
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Epinephrine