Rate adaptation of QT intervals during and after exercise in children with congenital long QT syndrome

Eur Heart J. 1998 Mar;19(3):508-13. doi: 10.1053/euhj.1997.0764.


Objectives: To improve the diagnostic criteria of the congenital long QT syndrome in borderline cases we examined rate adaptation of ventricular repolarization phases during exercise and subsequent recovery in children with the long QT syndrome and controls.

Methods: Nineteen children with definite long QT syndrome and 19 healthy controls underwent exercise testing. QT intervals were measured to the apex (early QT), to the end (total QT) and from apex to the end of the T wave (late QT) at heart rates from 90 by steps of 10 to 150 beats, min-1.

Results: In 11/19 long QT syndrome patients (61%) and 2/19 controls (12%) the total QT lengthened during the recovery phase compared with exercise (P = 0.005) at the lowest comparable heart rate. No difference was found between the groups during exercise. The sensitivity of rate adaptation of repolarization intervals was analysed by calculating linear regression slopes relating the QT intervals to the heart rates. During recovery, slopes relating the total QT to heart rate were steeper in long QT syndrome patients than those in controls (-2.50 +/- 0.82 vs -1.79 +/- 0.47, P = 0.003). Total QT/heart rate slopes differed between exercise and recovery phases in the long QT syndrome group only (-1.77 +/- 0.71 vs 2.50 +/- 0.82, P = 0.009). In long QT syndrome patients, the difference in total QT/heart rate slopes was mainly because the late QT/heart rate slopes indicating inhomogeneity of repolarization were steeper during recovery (-1.27 +/- 0.74) than during exercise (-0.46 +/- 0.29, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: After exercise in long QT syndrome children the QT interval lengthens abnormally and inhomogeneity of repolarization increases. Evaluation of the QT interval, and especially its late portion after exercise, may help in establishing the diagnosis of long QT syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome / congenital*
  • Long QT Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Male