Electrocardiographic changes in patients receiving neuroleptic medication

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1996 Apr;93(4):311-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1996.tb10653.x.


The precise aetiology of sudden death in patients receiving neuroleptic medication is uncertain, but cardiac arrhythmias are a possible cause. We investigated the link between neuroleptic medication and electrocardiographic changes predictive of malignant cardiac arrhythmias. Electrocardiographs were performed on 111 patients receiving neuroleptic medication and on 42 unmedicated controls. Prolonged QTc intervals were more common in the patient sample, but QTc dispersion was not significantly increased. QTc interval prolongation was more likely in patients on doses above 2000 mg chlorpromazine equivalents daily (odds ratio 4.28, P < 0.02). Neuroleptic medication, especially at high doses, is associated with ECG changes that may herald more serious cardiac problems.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chlorpromazine / pharmacology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electrocardiography / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Long QT Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Long QT Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Chlorpromazine