QT-prolonging medications are used to prolong QT the QT interval (the time heart the heart muscle takes to recharge between beats). The use of QT-prolonging medications (QTPMs) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death (SCD), but recent studies also link QTPMs with autopsy-defined sudden death (SAD). The objective of this study is to examine the association between QTPM and autopsy-defined sudden death.
This prospective case-control study included a total of 629 patients who underwent autopsy to determine arrhythmic or nonarrhythmic cause and control deaths due to trauma. The association between QTPM and the risk of presumed SCD, autopsy-defined SAD, and non-SAD was analyzed. The primary outcomes of the study were death due to trauma, autopsy-defined non-SAD, and presumed SCD.
Of the 629 included patients, 525 with presumed SCDs, and 104 traumatic death controls. The findings suggested that patients with presumed SCD had higher exposure to QTPM (55%) than trauma controls (26.9%). The use of QTPMs was also associated with an increased risk of presumed SCD in both low and high exposure groups.
The research concluded that the use of QTPM was associated with an increased risk of presumed SCD, with the risk being more specific for non arrhythmic causes of sudden death.