Spectrum and prevalence of side effects and complications with guideline-directed therapies for congenital long QT syndrome

Katherine Martinez, Sahej Bains, John R. Giudicessi, J. Martijn Bos, Raquel Neves, Michael J. Ackerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: β-Blockers (BBs), sodium channel blockers (SCBs), left cardiac sympathetic denervation (LCSD), and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are used to prevent or counter long QT syndrome (LQTS)–triggered syncope, seizures, and sudden cardiac death. The spectrum and extent of side effects/complications associated with these guideline-directed therapies (GDTs) remain unknown. Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the types/prevalence of treatment-associated side effects/complications for patients with the most common LQTS subtypes after GDT. Methods: Retrospective analysis was performed on 1310 patients with type 1, 2, or 3 LQTS evaluated in Mayo Clinic's Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic (average age at the time of diagnosis 22 ± 18 years; average length of follow-up 5 ± 5 years) and treated with ≥1 of the common GDTs for LQTS. Results: BBs were used in 1102 (84%), SCBs in 104 (8%), LCSD in 197 (15%), and an ICD was used in 251 (19%) patients. Overall, 727 (55%) patients reported at least 1 treatment-associated side effect/complication. A total of 490 of 1102 patients treated with BBs (44%) reported side effects, with fatigue (381 [35%]) being the most common; 28 of 104 SCB-treated patients (27%) reported side effects, most common being gastrointestinal distress/vomiting (18 [17%]); 80 of 197 patients (41%) reported side effects after LCSD, most reporting neuropathic pain (57 [29%]); and 129 of 251 patients (51%) experienced ≥1 complication after ICD implantation, including inappropriate shocks (46 [18%]). Conclusion: Although LQTS-triggered sudden cardiac death is uncommon in the properly treated patient, this study demonstrates that contemporary GDTs for LQTS are not innocuous. Their treatment-related side effects are not trivial and should compel an ongoing quest for new LQTS therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHeart rhythm
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Complications
  • Guideline-directed therapies
  • LQTS
  • Side effects
  • β-Blocker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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