QTc prolongation (≥ 460 ms), according to Bazett formula (QTcB), has been identified to be increased in Williams syndrome (WS) and suggested as a potential cause of increased risk of sudden cardiac death. The Bazett formula tends to overestimate QTc in higher heart rates. We performed a retrospective chart review of WS patients with ≥ 1 electrocardiogram (EKG) with sinus rhythm, no evidence of bundle branch blocks, and measurable intervals. A total of 280 EKGs from 147 patients with WS were analyzed and 123 EKGs from 123 controls. The QTc was calculated using Bazett formula. The average QTcB for individuals with WS and controls was 444 ± 24 ms and 417 ± 26 ms, respectively (p < 0.001). In our WS cohort 34.4% had at least 1 EKG with a QTcB ≥ 460 ms. The mean heart rate (HR) from patients with WS was significantly higher than controls (96 bpm vs 76 bpm, p < 0.001). Linear regression showed that HR contributed 27% to QTcB prolongation in the patients with WS. Patients with WS have a mean QTcB in the normal range but higher than controls, and a higher than expected frequency of QTc ≥ 460 ms compared to the general population. HR is also higher in WS and contributes modestly to the WS QTcB prolongation. Future studies are needed to assess if these findings contribute risk to sudden cardiac death but in the interim we recommend routine EKG testing, especially when starting QTc prolonging medications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
BDB received summer research funding from Quinnipiac University to support this work. BAK received funding for the study through the Children’s Discovery Institute at Washington University School of Medicine and is currently supported through the Division of Intramural research at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, where the protocol is currently held (ZIA- HL006212).
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Prolonged QTc
- Williams syndrome