Prolonged QT interval in alcoholic autonomic nervous dysfunction

A. Yokoyama, H. Ishii, T. Takagi, S. Hori, S. Matsushita, S. Onishi, Fuminori Katsukawa, I. Takei, Shinzo Kato, K. Maruyama, M. Tsuchiya

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QT prolongation on electrocardiography is related to sudden cardiac death and is frequently found in alcoholics. We studied QT prolongation in relation to the function of cardiac autonomic nerves assessed by the coefficient of variation of the R-R interval (CV(RR)) in three age-matched groups of men: 32 alcoholics with autonomic nervous dysfunction (AN), 32 alcoholics without AN, and 32 healthy controls. The QT(C) interval and CV(RR) were measured at rest on the 30th day of abstinence, when electrolyte imbalance had disappeared. Subjects with arrhythmia, conduction abnormality, cardiomegaly, ischemic heart disease or diabetes mellitus were excluded. A CV(RR) of less than 80% of standard predicted value was judged to represent AN. In alcoholics, QT(C) correlated negatively with the ratio of CV(RR) to its standard value (r = - 0.49, p < 0.0001). The incidence of QT(C) prolongation was higher in alcoholics with AN (46.9%) than in alcoholics without AN (21.9%, p < 0.05). QT(C) prolongation was not observed in healthy controls. The QT(C) interval was significantly (p < 0.01) longer in alcoholics with AN (444 ± 20 msec) than in alcoholics without AN (426 ± 17) and in healthy controls (398 ± 18). These results suggest that alcoholism causes dysfunction of the autonomic nerves as well as worsening QT prolongation, and this may predispose such patients to sudden cardiac death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1092
Number of pages3
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992



  • Alcoholism
  • Autonomic Nervous Dysfunction
  • Heart Rate Variation
  • QT Interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology

Cite this

Yokoyama, A., Ishii, H., Takagi, T., Hori, S., Matsushita, S., Onishi, S., Katsukawa, F., Takei, I., Kato, S., Maruyama, K., & Tsuchiya, M. (1992). Prolonged QT interval in alcoholic autonomic nervous dysfunction. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 16(6), 1090-1092.