Prevalence of QTc interval prolongation and its associated risk factors among psychiatric patients: a prospective observational study.

Research paper by Zahid Z Ali, Mohammad M Ismail, Zahid Z Nazar, Fahadullah F Khan, Qasim Q Khan, Sidra S Noor

Indexed on: 05 Jun '20Published on: 05 Jun '20Published in: BMC Psychiatry


QT interval prolongation is a growing concern worldwide, posing psychiatric patients to life-threatening fatal arrhythmias i.e., torsade de pointes. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of QT interval prolongation, its associated risk factors and prescribing patterns of QT prolonging drugs among psychiatric patients. A prospective observational study was conducted that included psychiatric patients from a tertiary care hospital and a psychiatry clinic in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Electrocardiogram was recorded of those patients who were using psychotropic medications for ≥7 days, aged 18 years or more, and of either gender, male or female. The Fredericia correction formula was used for measuring QTc values (corrected QT). Chi-square test was applied to estimate differences between patients with or without prolonged QTc interval whereas, logistic regression analysis was performed to identify various predictors of QT interval prolongation. Out of 405 patients, the QTc interval was prolonged in 23 (5.7%) patients including 1 (0.2%) patient with highly abnormal prolonged QTc interval (> 500 ms). QT drugs (91.6%), female sex (38.7%) and hypertension (10.6%) were the most common QT prolonging risk factors. Prolonged QTc interval was significantly higher among male patients (p = 0.007). In the present study, QT interval prolongation was observed in a considerable number of psychiatric patients. While, the high prevalence of QT prolonging risk factors among these patients warrants the increased risk of fatal arrhythmias. Therefore, risk assessment and electrocardiographic monitoring, and prescription of safer alternatives are highly recommended.