Effect of hyperventilation on rate corrected QT interval of children (2013)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*A Kannivelu, V Kudumula, V Bhole

Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2013 Feb;98(2):103-6

BACKGROUND: Hyperventilation is known to cause ST segment changes and QT variability in adults, but this has not been systematically studied in children.
AIM: To investigate the effect of hyperventilation on rate corrected QT interval (QTc) in children.
METHODS AND RESULTS: 25 children (male=10) with a median age of 14 (range 8.3-17.6) years were asked to hyperventilate for 1 min before exercise testing using the modified Bruce protocol. Mean QTc at rest, after hyperventilation, at peak exercise and at 1 min of recovery was 425(±31), 460(±30), 446(±38) and 420(±32) ms, respectively. Mean increase (95% CI) in QTc after hyperventilation was 35(19 to 51) ms (p<0.001), while there was minimal difference between QT interval at rest and after hyperventilation (mean QT 352(±41) vs 357(±44) ms). In six children, there were abnormalities in T wave morphology following hyperventilation. The QTc increment following hyperventilation was more pronounced in children with resting QTc <440 ms (n=14, mean increment (95% CI): 55 (33 to 78) ms) compared to children with QTc ≥440 ms (n=11, mean increment (95% CI): 9 (-4 to 22) ms) (p=0.001). QTc prolongation following hyperventilation was seen in children with both low and intermediate probability of long QT syndrome (LQTS). Peak exercise and early recovery did not cause a statistically significant change in QTc in either of these groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Hyperventilation produces repolarisation abnormalities, including prolongation of QTc and T wave abnormalities in children with low probability of LQTS. The likely mechanism is delayed adaptation of QT interval with increased heart rate. Thus, a hyperventilation episode can be misdiagnosed as LQTS, especially in an emergency department.

Link to more details or full-text: http://adc.bmj.com/content/early/2012/12/13/archdischild-2012-302663.full.pdf