Background: Automatic measurement becomes a preference, and indeed a necessity, when analyzing 1000 s of ECGs in the setting of either drug-inducing QT prolongation screening or genome-wide association studies of QT interval. The problem is that individual manufacturers apply different computerized algorithms to measure QT interval. We conducted a comparative study to assess the outcomes with different automated measurements of QT interval between ECG machine manufacturers and validated the related heart rate correction methods.
Methods and Results: Herein, we directly compared these different commercial systems using 10,529 Fukuda Denshi ECGs and 72,754 Nihon Kohden ECGs taken in healthy Japanese volunteers. Log-transformed data revealed an equal optimal heart rate correction formula of QT interval for Fukuda Denshi and Nihon Kohden, in the form of QTc = QT/RR-0.347. However, with the raw data, the optimal heart rate correction formula of QT interval was in the form of QTc = QT+0.1566(1- RR) for Fukuda Denshi and QTc = QT+0.1526(1-RR) for Nihon Kohden. After optimization of heart rate correction of QT interval by the linear regression model using either log-transformed data or raw data, QTc interval was ,10 ms longer in Nihon Kohden ECGs than in those recorded on Fukuda Denshi machines. Indeed, regression analysis revealed that differences in the ECG machine used had up to a two-fold larger impact on QT variation than gender difference. Such an impact is likely to be of considerable importance when ECGs for a given individual are recorded on different machines in the setting of multi-institutional joint research.
Conclusions: We recommend that ECG machines of the same manufacturer should be used to measure QT and RR intervals in the setting of multi-institutional joint research. It is desirable to unify the computer algorithm for automatic QT and RR measurements from an ECG.
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