Browsing by Organization "Aalto University, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science"

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  • Hekkala, Anna-Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a familial disorder characterized by ventricular repolarization that makes carriers vulnerable to malignant ventricular tachycardia and sudden cardiac death. The three main subtypes (LQT1, LQT2 and LQT3) constitute 95% of cases. The disorder is characterized by a prolonged QT interval in electrocardiograms (ECG), but a considerable portion are silent carriers presenting normal (QTc < 440 ms) or borderline (QTc < 470 ms) QT interval. Genetic testing is available only for 60-70% of patients. A number of pharmaceutical compounds also affect ventricular repolarization, causing a clinically similar disorder called acquired long QT syndrome. LQTS carriers - who already have impaired ventricular repolarization - are especially vulnerable. In this thesis, asymptomatic genotyped LQTS mutation carriers with non-diagnostic resting ECG were studied. The body surface potential mapping (BSPM) system was utilized for ECG recording, and signals were analyzed with an automated analysis program. QT interval length, and the end part of the T wave, the Tpe interval, was studied during exercise stress testing and an epinephrine bolus test. In the latter, T wave morphology was also analyzed. The effect of cetirizine was studied in LQTS carriers and also with supra- therapeutic dose in healthy volunteers. At rest, LQTS mutation carriers had a slightly longer heart rate adjusted QTc interval than healthy subjects (427 ± 31 ms and 379 ± 26 ms; p<0.001), but significant overlapping existed. LQT2 mutation carriers had a conspicuously long Tpe-interval (113 ± 24 ms; compared to 79 ± 11 ms in LQT1, 81 ± 17 ms in LQT3 and 78 ± 10 ms in controls; p<0.001). In exercise stress tests, LQT1 mutation carriers exhibit a long QT interval at high heart rates and during recovery, whereas LQT2 mutation carriers have a long Tpe interval at the beginning of exercise and at the end of recovery at low heart rates. LQT3 mutation carriers exhibit prominent shortening of both QT and Tpe intervals during exercise. A small epinephrine bolus revealed disturbed repolarization, especially in LQT2 mutation carriers, who developed prolonged Tpe intervals. A higher epinephrine bolus caused abnormal T waves with a different T wave profile in LQTS mutation carriers compared to healthy controls. These effects were seen in LQT3 as well, a group that may easily escape other provocative tests. In the cetirizine test, the QT and Tpe intervals were not prolonged in LQTS mutation carriers or in healthy controls. Subtype-specific findings in exercise test and epinephrine bolus test help to diagnose silent LQTS mutation carriers and to guide subtype-specific treatments. The Tpe interval, which signifies the repolarization process, seems to be a sensitive marker of disturbed repolarization along with the QT interval, which signifies the end of repolarization. This method may be used in studying compounds that are suspected to affect repolarization. Cetirizine did not adversely alter ventricular repolarization and would not be pro-arrhythmic in common LQT1 and LQT2 subtypes when used at its recommended doses.