24-Hour QT variability in heart failure

Craig P. Dobson, Maria Teresa La Rovere, Cara Olsen, Marino Berardinangeli, Marco Veniani, Paolo Midi, Luigi Tavazzi, Mark Haigney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies have shown that increased temporal variability of repolarization, as reflected by QT interval variability measured for 10 minutes, predicted spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias in implantable cardioverter defribrillator patients, but it is unclear how these measures perform in 24-hour recordings. Methods: Twenty-four-hour digital Holter recordings from 372 subjects with chronic heart failure enrolled in Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell'Insufficienza Cardiaca, (GISSI) Heart Failure study were analyzed using a template-matching, semiautomatic algorithm to measure QT and heart rate time series in sequential 5-minute epochs for 24 hours. QT variability was expressed as normalized QT variance (QTVN) or as the log ratio of the QTVN over normalized heart rate variance (QT variability index, or QTVI). Results: A pronounced diurnal variation was seen in both QTVI and QTVN. Both were lowest in the midnight to 6 am time frame and increased throughout the day, peaking at noon to 6 pm, then decreasing 6 pm to midnight. For QTVI, all 4 time points were significantly different (P < .0001). QT variability index correlated with heart rate (r = 0.38, P < .0001) and was significantly higher for those in higher New York Heart Association (NYHA) classes (r = 0.22, P = .0003). Normalized QT variance did not correlate with heart rate or NYHA but correlated negatively with serum potassium (r = -0.22, P = .0002) and manifested the greatest increase during midmorning hours. Conclusions: Repolarization lability as reflected in QT variability has a pronounced diurnal variation and increases significantly after 6 am, the time of greatest arrhythmic risk. QT variability for 24 hours might improve risk prediction in chronic heart failure patients and should be tested in appropriate trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-504
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Electrocardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • QT
  • QT variability
  • Repolarization
  • U wave
  • Ventricular fibrillation


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