Spatial distribution of QT intervals: an alternative approach to QT dispersion

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1996 Nov;19(11 Pt 2):1894-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1996.tb03248.x.


QT dispersion (QTd) describes the heterogeneity of ventricular repolarization on the basis of the temporal range of QT intervals as measured in the 12-lead ECG. We examined the spatial distribution of QTd using multichannel magnetocardiograms (MCGs), which noninvasively register changes in magnetic field strength at 37 sites over the heart. As in ECG, the MCG signal in each channel may be used to measure QT interval. By calculating QT deviation from QTmin at each site, one can reconstruct the spatial distribution of QTd. Analysis of spatial QTd in ten healthy subjects and ten patients after acute myocardial infarction (MI) showed clear differences in spatial distribution. The healthy subjects generally displayed shorter QT intervals along a line corresponding to the approximate position of the septum with longer intervals in plateaus in the upper right and lower left. Spatial QTd of the post-MI patients deviated from this pattern, often displaying a sharp rise in QT duration over specific areas, which could be related to functional and morphological disturbances. The quantification of local irregularities as well as the overall pattern on the basis of a smoothness index allowed better discrimination between healthy subjects and post-MI patients than QTd. Distribution patterns of QTd which reflect local repolarization alterations may thus represent a more differentiated marker for pathology and risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Surface Potential Mapping
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography / instrumentation
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Septum / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Function