Abstract 187: Electrocardiographic Heart Rate-corrected Qt Interval And Risk Of Stroke In The REasons For Geographic And Racial Differences In Stroke (REGARDS) Study
Background: Prolongation of heart rate-corrected QT interval (QTc) is a well established predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Little is known, however, about the relationship between this simple electrocardiographic (ECG) marker and risk of stroke.
Methods: A total of 27,411 participants aged > 45 years without prior stroke from the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study were included in this analysis. QTc was calculated using Framingham formula (QTcFram). Stroke cases were identified and adjudicated during an up to 7 years of follow-up (median 2.7 years). Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to estimate the hazard ratios for incident stroke associated with prolonged QTcFram interval (vs. normal) and per 1 standard deviation (SD) increase, separately, in a series of incremental models.
Results: The risk of incident stroke in the study participants with baseline prolonged QTcFram was almost 3 times the risk in those with normal QTcFram [HR (95% CI): 2.88 (2.12, 3.92), p<0.0001]. After adjustment for age, race, sex, antihypertensive medication use, systolic blood pressure, current smoking, diabetes, left ventricular hypertrophy, atrial fibrillation, prior cardiovascular disease, QRS duration, warfarin use, and QT-prolonging drugs (full model), the risk of stroke remained significantly high [HR (95% CI): 1.67 (1.16, 2.41), p=0.0060)], and was consistent across several subgroups of REGARDS participants. When the risk of stroke was estimated per 1 SD increase in QTcFram, a 24% increased risk was observed [HR (95% CI): 1.24 (1.16, 1.33), p<0.0001)]. This risk remained significant in the fully adjusted model [HR (95% CI): 1.12 (1.03, 1.21), p=0.0055]. Similar results were obtained when other QTc correction formulas including Hodge’s, Bazett’s and Fridericia’s were used.
Conclusions: QTc prolongation is associated with a significantly increased risk of incident stroke independently from known stroke risk factors. In light of our results, examining the risk of stroke associated with QT-prolonging drugs may be warranted.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.