Prevalence, predictors and clinical implications of prolonged corrected QT in elderly patients with dementia and suspected syncope

Published:October 25, 2018DOI:


      • Evaluation of prevalence of prolonged corrected QT (QTc) in elderly patients with dementia.
      • Identification of variables, including drugs, associated with prolonged QTc interval.
      • Impact of prolonged QTc on one-year mortality and recurrence of syncope.



      Long QT and use of QT-prolonging drugs are common among older patients receiving polytherapies, but real-world evidence on their impact in clinical practice is controversial. We investigated prevalence, variables associated and clinical implications of prolonged corrected QT (QTc) among patients from the Syncope and Dementia study.


      Observational, prospective, multicenter study. Patients≥65 years with dementia and fall suspected for syncope in the previous three months were enrolled. Several clinical variables and the complete list of medications were recorded for each patient. A 12‑lead ECG was obtained and corrected QT was calculated by the Bazett's formula. One-year followup for death and recurrent syncope was performed.


      Prolonged QTc was observed in 25% of the 432 enrolled patients (mean age 83.3), and was significantly associated with male gender (OR 2.09; 95% CI 1.34–3.26) and diuretics use (OR 1.85; 95% CI 1.18–2.90). At one-year 23.3% of patients died and 30.4% reported at least one recurrent event. Variables associated with one-year mortality were: age, male gender, atrial fibrillation (AF), use of calcium channel blockers and prolonged QTc (OR 1.80; 95% CI 1.01–3.20). Among patients with prolonged QTc a significant interaction for mortality was found with AF. Recurrent events were associated with the use of antiplatelets, cholinesterase.
      inhibitors and antipsychotics, but not with prolonged QTc.


      We documented a high prevalence of prolonged QTc, that was associated with male gender and diuretics but not with psychoactive medications. Patients with prolonged QTc had higher one-year mortality, that was four-fold increased in those with concomitant AF.


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