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Mayo Clinic creates institution-wide electronic prolonged QT interval warning system
Date:4/25/2013

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Using a one-of-a-kind computer-aided program, Mayo Clinic has developed and implemented a Mayo-wide electronic warning system to identify patients at risk of QT-related deaths from an abnormality in the heart's electrical system. The system informs all physicians, regardless of their specialty or QT awareness, if their patient's ECG activated the QT alarm. In addition, the researchers discovered that the death rate of patients whose 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) activated the QT alert was nearly four times greater than all other patients who had an ECG. The findings are published in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The heart rate corrected QT interval, or QTc, from the ECG reflects the health of the heart's electrical recharging system. A prolonged QT interval may indicate that the heart's electrical system is reacting to medical conditions including genetic-mediated long QT syndrome (LQTS), electrolyte abnormalities or medications. Regardless of the cause, a prolonged QTc (greater than 500 milliseconds) has been recognized as a non-invasive risk marker for congenital or acquired LQTS-triggered sudden death, stroke and all-cause cardiovascular mortality.

The QT issue has emerged as an important safety issue in medicine, says lead author says Michael Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric cardiologist with the Mayo Clinic Children's Center. The American Heart Association (AHA) has called for better surveillance to prevent drug-induced sudden cardiac death among hospitalized patients whose medications have QT problems as a potential side effect.

Mayo implemented the warning system as a result of this call from AHA and because such QT-prolonging medications are prescribed by physicians in many specialties. "This type of early warning system is an ideal use of computer technology and electronic medical records to help busy clinicians at the bedside keep their patients safe," said Richard Kovacs, M.
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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