Prolongation of the QT interval and the sudden infant death syndrome

Peter John Schwartz, Marco Stramba-Badiale, Alessandro Segantini, Paola Austoni, Giuliano Bosi, Roberto Giorgetti, Fabio Grancini, Ernesto Diego Marni, Francesco Perticone, Dario Rosti, Patrizia Salice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is multifactorial in origin, but its causes remain unknown. We previously proposed that prolongation of the QT interval on the electrocardiogram, possibly resulting from a developmental abnormality in cardiac sympathetic innervation, may increase the risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and contribute to this devastating disorder. We prospectively tested this hypothesis. Methods: Between 1976 and 1994, we recorded electrocardiograms on the third or fourth day of life in 34,442 newborns and followed them prospectively for one year. The QT interval was analyzed with and without correction for the heart rate. Results: One-year follow-up data were available for 33,034 of the infants. There were 34 deaths, of which 24 were due to SIDS. The infants who died of SIDS had a longer corrected QT interval (OTc) than did the survivors (mean [±SD], 435±45 vs. 400±20 msec, P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1714
Number of pages6
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 11 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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