Patients with CRF (chronic renal failure) are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, and 60% of cardiovascular mortality in CRF is attributed to sudden death. Various abnormalities in myocardial repolarization are associated with the risk of ventricular arrhythmia. The aim of this study was to evaluate an index of temporal myocardial repolarization lability, the temporal QTVI (QT variability index), in patients with CRF. ECGs were recorded in 153 patients with CRF on haemodialysis (n=67), continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (n=43) or conservative treatment (n=43) during 30 min of rest. QTVI was calculated as the logarithm of the ratio between the variances of the normalized QT and RR intervals. Age-matched healthy subjects (n=39) were examined for comparison. QTVI was increased by 47% in CRF patients compared with healthy subjects (−0.82±0.56 compared with −1.54±0.27 respectively; P<0.01). QTVI did not differ among patients on dialysis or conservative treatment, whereas QTVI was elevated further in patients with diabetes compared with non-diabetic CRF patients (−0.56±0.54 compared with −0.94±0.52 respectively; P<0.01). In a multiple linear regression analysis, diabetes and a history of coronary artery disease were the only independent predictors of QTVI in the CRF population. The present study demonstrates that elevated QTVI in patients with CRF is associated with diabetes and coronary disease. The present findings are important given that repolarization instability may predispose to ventricular arrhythmia and sudden death, events that occur frequently in CRF patients.

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