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Original Research

Population Prevalence and Correlates of Prolonged QT Interval: Cross-Sectional, Population-Based Study From Rural Uganda

Authors:

Itai M. Magodoro ,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US; University of Cape Town, Cape Town, ZA
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Alfred J. Albano,

Michigan State University School of Medicine, East Lansing, MI, US
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Rahul Muthalaly,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Arrhythmia Service, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, US
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Bruce Koplan,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Arrhythmia Service, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, US
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Crystal M. North,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US
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Dagmar Vořechovská,

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US
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Jordan Downey,

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, US
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John Kraemer,

Department of Health Systems Administration, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, US
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Martino Vaglio,

Analyzing Medical Parameters for Solutions, LLC, New York, NY, US
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Fabio Badilini,

Analyzing Medical Parameters for Solutions, LLC, New York, NY, US
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Bernard Kakuhire,

Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, UG
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Alexander C. Tsai,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; Analyzing Medical Parameters for Solutions, LLC, New York, NY, US
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Mark J. Siedner

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US; Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, UG; Africa Health Research Institute, KwaZulu-Natal, ZA
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Abstract

Objectives: We aimed to estimate the prevalence and correlates of QT interval prolongation in rural Uganda.

Background: Major electrocardiographic abnormalities, including prolonged QT interval, have been shown to be independently predictive of adverse cardiovascular events among Western populations. Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa with poorly characterized context-specific risk factors. An important question is whether ECG screening might have value in cardiovascular disease risk stratification in SSA.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in a sample of adults participating in an ongoing whole-population cohort in Mbarara, Uganda, in 2015. Of 1,814 subjects enrolled in the parent whole-population cohort, 856 (47%) participated in the study. Participants completed 12-lead electrocardiography and cardiovascular disease risk factors assessment. We summarized sex-specific, heart rate variationeadjusted QT (QTa) defining prolonged QTa as >460 ms in women and >450 ms in men. We fit linear and logistic regression models to estimate correlates of (continuous) QTa interval length and (dichotomous) prolonged QTa. Models included inverse probability of sampling weights to generate population-level estimates accounting for study nonparticipation.

Results: We assessed data from 828 participants with electrocardiograms. The weighted population mean age was 38.4 years (95% confidence interval: 36.3–40.4). The weighted population was 50.4% female, 11.5% had elevated blood pressure, and 57.6% had a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein >1 mg/dl. The population mean QTa was 409.1 ms (95% confidence interval: 405.1–413.1), and 10.3% (95% confidence interval: 7.8–13.5) met criteria for prolonged QTa. Women had a higher mean QTa (421.6 ms vs. 396.3 ms; p < 0.001), and a higher proportion of women had a prolonged QTa (14.0% vs. 9.3%; p = 0.122) than did men. In multivariable-adjusted regression models, female sex and hypertension correlated with higher mean QTa and meeting criteria for prolonged QTa, respectively.

Conclusions: QT interval prolongation is highly prevalent in rural Uganda and may be more common than in high-income settings. Female sex, age, and high blood pressure correlated with QT interval prolongation. Future work should assess whether genetic predisposition or environmental factors in sub-Saharan African populations contribute to prolonged QT and clarify consequences.

Highlights

  • Prolongation of QT interval is known to be associated with incident major adverse cardiovascular events and death in populations in high-income settings.
  • QT interval prolongation is highly prevalent in rural Uganda and may be more common than in high-income settings.
  • In rural Uganda, female sex, age, and high blood pressure are correlated with QT interval prolongation.
  • Additional data are needed to understand context-specific QT interval norms, and how, if, they contribute to major adverse cardiovascular events or death in this setting.
How to Cite: Magodoro IM, Albano AJ, Muthalaly R, Koplan B, North CM, Vořechovská D, et al.. Population Prevalence and Correlates of Prolonged QT Interval: Cross-Sectional, Population-Based Study From Rural Uganda. Global Heart. 2019;14(1):17–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gheart.2018.11.002
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Published on 01 Mar 2019.
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