Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Most physicians don’t know a long QT when they see one

Not even cardiologists, according to this study from last year in Heart Rhythm. There are many pitfalls. Sometimes the T wave is not well demarcated, and in many cases is fused with the U wave (an arrhythmogenic situation in and of itself which may have the same significance as a long QT). Many times the computer doesn’t correctly make the call.

This is concerning, because proper recognition can be life saving. It’s a basic skill we should all master. As a primary care physician or emergency physician you may be the first person to see the electrocardiogram of a patient with LQTS.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This comment is scary and true. I have been having syncope since teenage years and am now 20's and have told every possible explanation, including epilepsy misdiagnosed and medicated for 6yrs, and including having the EP say vasovagal for a year or so. Looking back in my records my new doc who spotted the long QT looked at the old EKGs and although several were normal there were at least 5 that were abnormal and nothing was ever said about this. It has been overlooked by many MDs including ER docs, cardios, and EP!

Please remember not to automatically categorize your patients- a young healthy person who faints without warning should be considered high risk until proven otherwise.