OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to test the hypothesis that epinephrine infusion may be a provocative test able to unmask nonpenetrant KCNQ1 mutation carriers. BACKGROUND: The LQT1 form of congenital long QT syndrome is associated with high vulnerability to sympathetic stimulation and appears with incomplete penetrance. METHODS: The 12-lead electrocardiographic parameters before and after epinephrine infusion were compared among 19 mutation carriers with a baseline corrected QT interval (QTc) of ≥460 ms (Group I), 15 mutation carriers with a QTc of <460 ms (Group II), 12 nonmutation carriers (Group III), and 15 controls (Group IV). RESULTS: The mean corrected Q-Tend (QTce), Q-Tpeak (QTcp), and Tpeak-end (Tcp-e) intervals among 12-leads before epinephrine were significantly larger in Group I than in the other three groups. Epinephrine (0.1 μg/kg/min) increased significantly the mean QTce, QTcp, Tcp-e, and the dispersion of QTcp in Groups I and II, but not in Groups III and IV. The sensitivity and specificity of QTce measurements to identify mutation carriers were 59% (20/34) and 100% (27/27), respectively, before epinephrine, and the sensitivity was substantially improved to 91% (31/34) without the expense of specificity (100%, 27/27) after epinephrine. The mean QTce, QTcp, and Tcp-e before and after epinephrine were significantly larger in 15 symptomatic than in 19 asymptomatic mutation carriers in Groups I and II, and the prolongation of the mean QTce with epinephrine was significantly larger in symptomatic patients. CONCLUSIONS: Epinephrine challenge is a powerful test to establish electrocardiographic diagnosis in silent LQT1 mutation carriers, thus allowing implementation of prophylactic measures aimed at reducing sudden cardiac death.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine