Electrocardiographic Predictors of Torsadogenic Risk During Dofetilide or Sotalol Initiation: Utility of a Novel T Wave Analysis Program

Alan Sugrue, Vaclav Kremen, Bo Qiang, Seth H. Sheldon, Christopher V. DeSimone, Yehu Sapir, Bryan L. Striemer, Peter Brady, Samuel J. Asirvatham, Michael J. Ackerman, Paul Friedman, Peter A. Noseworthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: Initiation of class III anti-arrhythmic medications requires telemetric monitoring for ventricular arrhythmias and QT prolongation to reduce the risk of torsades de pointes (TdP). Heart rate-corrected QT interval (QTc) is an indicator of risk, however it is imperfect, and subtle abnormalities of repolarization have been linked with arrhythmogenesis. Purpose: Identification of electrocardiographic predictors of torsadogenic risk through the application of a novel T wave analysis tool. Methods: Among all patients admitted to Mayo Clinic for initiation of dofetilide or sotalol, we identified 13 cases who developed drug-induced TdP and 26 age and sex matched controls that did not develop TdP. The immediate pre-TdP ECG of those with TdP was compared to the last ECG performed prior to hospital discharge in controls using a novel T wave program that quantified subtle changes in T wave morphology. Results: The QTc and 12 T wave parameters successfully distinguished TdP cases from controls. The top performing parameters were the QTc in lead V3 (mean case vs control 480 vs 420 msec, p < 0.001, r = 0.72) and T wave right slope in lead I (mean case vs control −840.29 vs −1668.71 mV/s, p = 0.002, r = 0.45). The addition of T wave right slope to QTc improved prediction accuracy from 79 to 88 %. Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that, in addition to QTc, the T wave right slope is correlated strongly with TdP risk. This suggests that a computer-based repolarization measurement tool that integrates additional data beyond the QTc may identify patients with the greatest torsadogenic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-441
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 28 2015


  • Class III antiarrhythmics
  • Electrocardiography
  • Risk stratification
  • T wave analysis
  • Torsade de pointes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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