Difference in QT interval measurement on ambulatory ECG compared with standard ECG

James L. Christiansen, Paolo Guccione, Arthur Garson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Measurement of the QT interval on standard ECG has diagnostic importance in the congenital long QT syndrome, in pharmacological therapy of arrhythmias, as well as in ischemic heart disease. It has been suggested that QT prolongation on ambulatory ECG (Holter) may have similar importance. To assess agreement between methods, QT interval measurement on standard ECG was compared to that on Holter. Simultaneously obtained ECG and Holter tracings (25 mm/s) of the same complexes in leads V1 and V5 were studied in 14 patients (age range 4-36 years). ECG pairs (n = 100, 49 V1 and 51 V5) were compared over a range of QT interval from 300-620 ms, as determined with the use of calipers by two observers blinded to pairing relationship. Correlation between methods was high for both observers (observer 1: r(V1) = 0.872, r[V5] = 0.973; observer 2: r[V1] = 0.972, r[V5] = 0.988), and interobserver variability was small (> 85% of measurements within 20 ms). As compared to ECG, Holter underestimated QT interval in V1, mean difference (QT [Holter]-QT [ECG]) observer 1 (-23 ms. P <0.001), observer 2 (-7 ms, P <0.05), and overestimated QT in V5, mean difference observer 1 (+13 ms, P <0.001), observer 2 (+ 13 ms, P <0.001). However, individual variation between methods was wide, as expressed by the difference between individual measurements (95% confidence interval [V1] observer 1 [-99 to +53 ms] observer 2 [-47 to +33 ms]; [V5]: observer 1 [-33 to +59 ms] observer 2 [- 17 to +43 ms]). Furthermore, when using the QTA (interval from onset of Q wave to apex of T wave) similar variability was observed. In the assessment of QT interval, potential sources of error of this magnitude could limit the clinical utility of ambulatory monitoring in detecting prolongation of the QT interval for diagnostic purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1303
Number of pages8
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • ambulatory ECG
  • ECG
  • method comparison
  • QT interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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