Sudden death and its relation to QT-interval prolongation after acute myocardial infarction: Two-year follow-up

Kevin Wheelan, Jhulan Mukharji, Robert E. Rude, W. Kenneth Poole, Nancy Gustafson, Lewis J. Thomas, H. William Strauss, Allan S. Jaffe, James E. Muller, Robert Roberts, Charles H. Croft, Eugene R. Passamani, James T. Willerson

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59 Scopus citations


Risk of sudden death was assessed in 533 patients who survived 10 days after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and were followed for up to 24 months (mean 18) in the Multicenter Investigation of the Limitation of Infarct Size. Analysis of clinical and laboratory variables measured before hospital discharge revealed that the QT interval, either corrected (QTc) or uncorrected for heart rate, did not contribute significantly to prediction of subsequent sudden death or total mortality. In this population, frequent ventricular premature complexes (more than 10 per hour) on ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction (radionuclide LV ejection fraction of 0.40 or less) identify patients at high risk of sudden death. In patients with these adverse clinical findings, the QTc was 0.468 ± 0.044 second among those who died suddenly and 0.446 ± 0.032 second in survivors, and was not statistically significant as an additional predictor of sudden death. Consideration of the use of type I antiarrhythmic agents, digoxin, presence of U waves and correction for intraventricular conduction delay did not alter these findings. Although QT-interval prolongation occurs in some patients after acute myocardial infarction, reduced LV ejection fraction and frequent ventricular premature complexes are the most important factors for predicting subsequent sudden death in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-750
Number of pages6
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Apr 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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