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Background: Electrophysiological changes in cirrhosis are well known but least investigated especially in our country hence we wanted to see electrophysiological changes especially QT interval in cirrhotic patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi (AKUH) in which medical records (duration 2008-2010) of cirrhotic patients were reviewed.

Results: Three hundred and eighty cirrhotic patients' charts were studied, 227 (59.7 %) were male and mean age of this cohort was 52.8±12.6 years. The most common cause for CLD was Hepatitis C (CHC) in 260 (68.4%), NBNC in 56(14.7%) and HBV in 51 (13.4%). Only 225 had complete ECG workup, the mean corrected QT interval was 0.44±0.067sec. Among the electrophysiological abnormalities, 79 (35%) had a prolonged corrected QT interval, 7 (3.1%) had a prolonged PR interval (>0.22s) and prolonged QRS duration was seen in 23 (10.4%) patients. QT prolongation was seen in 1 of the 5 patients with Child Class A (20%), 22 of the 73 patients with Child Class B (30.1%), and 25 of the 61 patients with Child Class C (41%). However, this difference however was not statistically significant. (p-value=.331).

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that QT prolongation is more frequent in patients with liver cirrhosis especially when the disease is more advanced like in Child C hence these patients are more prone to sudden cardiac death. Moreover, this study shows that the risk associated with QT prolongation is present through all classes of liver cirrhosis. We recommend that routine cardiac screening with ECG of all cirrhotic patients be performed.


Journal of Ayub Medical College