QT interval prolongation as predictor of sudden death in patients with myocardial infarction

Circulation. 1978 Jun;57(6):1074-7. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.57.6.1074.


Fifty-five patients with recent myocardial infarction and 55 healthy controls, matched for age, sex, race, height, weight, education and job, had an electrocardiogram taken every two months for seven years. Twenty-eight patients and one control had a sudden cardiac death. The QTc (mean of all values recorded) was found prolonged in one control (2%), five of 27 surviving patients (18%) and in 16 of 28 patients who had sudden death (57%). The difference between surviving and sudden death patients is significant (P less than 0.01). It is interesting that the only control with a long QT was the one when died suddenly of myocardial infarction. Among patients with previous myocardial infarction a prolonged QTc constitutes a 2.16 times greater risk for sudden death. We conclude that a constant prolongation of QTc in patients with myocardial infarction may help, with other risk factors, in defining a subgroup at higher risk for sudden death.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality*
  • Time Factors