BackgroundHypertension is an important risk factor for sudden cardiac death, of which the incidence increases with increases in blood pressure. Prolonged QT dispersion has been identified to indicate increased risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. In this study, QT dispersion was investigated in hypertensive patients during the strain phase of the Valsalva maneuver.MethodsThe study population included 75 subjects: 25 with normal blood pressure (Control), 25 with stage I hypertension (Group A), and 25 with stage II hypertension (Group B). Electrocardiography for QT dispersion was recorded at 25 mm/sec paper speeds before and during the Valsalva maneuver.ResultsThe patients in Group B were significantly older than the controls (p<0.05). Differences in sex, smoking, diabetes, angina, and hyperlipidemia were not statistically significant between the three groups. The basal QT dispersion was 25.3±18.3 ms in the controls, 39.0±17.8 ms in Group A, and 36.8±18.8 ms in Group B. The QT dispersion was significantly higher in group A patients than the controls (p<0.05). In Group B only, a significant increase in QT dispersion was observed during the Valsalva maneuver, compared to conditions prior to the Valsalva maneuver (p<0.05).ConclusionThe conditions that increase intrathoracic pressure may increase QT dispersion and severe hypertensive patients should avoid these conditions.
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