Background: comorbidity with cardiovascular disorders and metabolic syndrome
influences QTc elongation in psychiatric sufferers, rather than antipsychotic treatment. Female gender and
advanced age predict QTc elongation in psychiatric patients, while some studies questioned the impact of
Objective: we hypothesized that female gender, advanced age, metabolic syndrome, smoking, somatic and
cardiovascular comorbidities would predict QTc elongation in a sample of 84 persons with severe mental
disorders consecutively admitted in the psychiatric ward of Portogruaro Hospital from January to June 2012.
Method: all participants to this naturalistic, cross-sectional study were treated with antipsychotics only,
antipsychotics plus antidepressants/mood stabilizers or antidepressants/mood stabilizers. The cut-off for
prolonged QTc interval was set at 420 ms.
Results: statistically significant differences in weight, HDL cholesterol and BMI were found between patients
taking antipsychotics only, antipsychotics plus mood stabilizers/antidepressants and mood
stabilizers/antidepressants only. Pearson’s positive correlations were found among QTc, history of
cardiovascular diseases and mean drug dosage, while inverted correlations appeared among drug dose, total
cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol was negatively associated with weight. Correlations
among total cholesterol, weight and BMI were negative as well. Linear regression evidenced three predictors
of QTc elongation: age, mean antipsychotics dosage and non-cardiovascular somatic comorbidities. In
participants older than 50, only drug dosage and weight predicted QTc increment.
Conclusion: differently than previous researches, female gender, smoking and cardiovascular comorbidities
did not predict QTc elongation, despite a higher proportion of female participants. Further studies will clarify
the influence of metabolic syndrome in causing severe electrocardiographic alterations in psychiatric