Rate-corrected QT interval: techniques and limitations

Am J Cardiol. 1993 Aug 26;72(6):17B-22B. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(93)90035-b.


The duration of the QT interval on the surface electrocardiogram represents the time required for all ventricular depolarization and repolarization processes to occur. Among the many physiologic and pathologic factors that contribute to the QT interval, heart rate plays a major role. Several approaches have been used to correct the QT interval, all of which take into account the heart rate at which the interval is measured. The simplest and most common approach to correcting the QT interval is to divide its value by the square root of the preceding RR interval expressed in seconds, i.e., by using Bazett's formula. This calculation provides a corrected QT (QTc) interval that represents the QT interval normalized for a heart rate of 60 beats/min. However, several studies have shown that Bazett's correction formula is not optimal. Fridericia's cube-root formula has been shown to perform better in correcting the QT interval for heart rate. Other formulas require the measurement of several QT-RR pairs at various heart rates to obtain a reliable QTc interval and are therefore not easily usable. Any correction formula is likely to introduce an error in assessing the QTc interval. Although the importance of this error should not be minimized, the corrected QT interval remains useful in assessing the effects of drugs on the duration of repolarization. For this purpose, Fridericia's cube-root formula is preferable to Bazett's square-root formula.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electrocardiography* / methods
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mathematics