Q-aTc interval as a clinical indicator of hypercalcemia

Am J Cardiol. 1979 Aug;44(2):243-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(79)90312-6.


The charts were reviewed of more than 200 patients discharged from the hospital between 1972 and 1977 with a diagnosis implying abnormal calcium metabolism. When all other variables known to affect the Q-T interval were eliminated, serum calcium concentrations on 65 occasions in 39 patients were found to correlate significantly (P less than 0.001 or better) with the following electrocardiographic intervals: Q-aTc (beginning of QRS complex to apex of T wave), Q-oTc (beginning of QRS complex to onset of T wave) and Q-Tc (beginning of QRS complex to end of T wave). Of these, the Q-aTc interval was the more easily and precisely measured at elevated calcium levels and exhibited the strongest correlation (P less than 0.0001) over the range of calcium levels measured. The relation was linear and could be used to estimate serum calcium levels from measured Q-aTc intervals. For a Q-aTc interval of 0.29 second or less (range 0.23 to 0.29) the serum calcium was estimated to +/- 1.9 mg/dl with 95 percent confidence. For a Q-aTc interval of 0.27 second or less, the correspondence with hypercalcemia in the study series was 90 percent or better. When all other factors known to affect the Q-T interval are ruled out, the shortening of the Q-aTc interval appears to be a useful clinical indicator of hypercalcemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / blood
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Electrolytes / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / blood
  • Hypercalcemia / diagnosis*
  • Male


  • Electrolytes
  • Calcium