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QT Interval

The QT interval is a measurement of the duration of the electrical activity of the heart and is measured on an electrocardiogram (ECG). It represents the time it takes for the heart to contract and then relax and is used to assess the function of the heart’s electrical system.

The QT interval begins at the start of the Q wave and ends at the end of the T wave, and its duration reflects the time it takes for the electrical signals to travel through the ventricles of the heart. The normal QT interval is usually between 0.32 and 0.44 seconds and varies with heart rate.

Abnormalities in the QT interval can indicate an increased risk of serious heart problems, such as arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, which can lead to sudden cardiac death. Long QT syndrome, a genetic condition, is one example of a condition that can cause an abnormally prolonged QT interval and increase the risk of these serious heart problems.

The QT interval is also used to assess the potential for interactions between medications and the heart’s electrical system. Some medications, such as anti-arrhythmics, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, can prolong the QT interval and increase the risk of arrhythmias.

It is important to note that the QT interval is just one part of a comprehensive evaluation of the heart’s electrical system and should be interpreted in the context of other clinical and ECG findings. An ECG and QT interval measurement should be performed by a qualified healthcare professional.

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