Publications by authors named "Pieter G Postema"

85 Publications

Cost-Based Price Calculation of Mexiletine for Nondystrophic Myotonia.

Value Health 2021 Jul 10;24(7):925-929. Epub 2021 Apr 10.

Medicine for Society, Platform at Amsterdam UMC - University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Amsterdam UMC - University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objectives: Mexiletine is a long-known drug used for the treatment of arrhythmias and repurposed in the 1980s for patients with nondystrophic myotonia (NDM). Recently, the price of mexiletine in Europe increased significantly after registration as an orphan drug for NDM. This led to international discussions on affordability and willingness to reimburse mexiletine in the absence of background information that would justify such a price. Our objective was to calculate a cost-based price for mexiletine for adult patients with NDM based on detailed information on development costs.

Methods: We calculated a fair price based on a cost-based pricing model for commercial mexiletine to treat adults with NDM using a recent European drug-pricing model as a framework to include actual costs incurred. Three scenarios were applied: 1 with minimum estimated costs, 1 with maximum estimated costs, and 1 with costs as if mexiletine was innovative.

Results: The calculated fair price of mexiletine per patient per year (PPPY) is €452 for the minimum scenario and €1996 for the maximum scenario. By using hypothetical R&D costs used for innovative drugs, the price would be €6685 PPPY. In Europe, the list price of mexiletine ranges from €30 707-60 730 PPPY, based on 600 mg daily.

Conclusions: The current list price for mexiletine in Europe is manifold higher than any scenario of the cost-based models. Accounting for the reduced costs for clinical development in a repurposing scenario, the cost-based pricing model provides a fair commercial price range, which can be used as benchmark for pricing negotiations and/or reimbursement decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2021.02.004DOI Listing
July 2021

What's in a name? further classification of patients with apparent idiopathic ventricular fibrillation.

Eur Heart J 2021 Jun 21. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

Heart Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam, UMC, University of Amsterdam, Cardiovascular Sciences, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehab382DOI Listing
June 2021

The β-angle can help guide clinical decisions in the diagnostic work-up of patients suspected of Brugada syndrome: a validation study of the β-angle in determining the outcome of a sodium channel provocation test.

Europace 2021 Jun 14. Epub 2021 Jun 14.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Heart Center, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Cardiovascular Sciences, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Aims: In patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS) but without spontaneous Type-1 electrocardiogram, several electrocardiographic characteristics have been studied, including the β-angle. Previous studies suggested that the β-angle might be useful in distinguishing BrS-patients from patients with only suggestive repolarization patterns without performing sodium channel blocker provocation testing. In this study, we aimed to determine the diagnostic value of the β-angle in patients suspected of BrS.

Methods And Results: A large cohort (n = 1430) of consecutive patients who underwent provocation testing was evaluated. β-angles were measured in leads V1, V2, and their corresponding positions over the second and third intercostal space. Receiver-operating characteristic curves were constructed and the diagnostic accuracy of previously reported β-angle cut-offs were calculated and evaluated. The importance of the β-angle for predicting the provocation test outcome was determined using a prediction model constructed with logistic regression. The optimum β-angle cut-off in our cohort for ruling out a positive provocation test was 15°; sensitivities were 80-98% and negative predictive values were 79-96% among the right precordial leads. Previously reported β-angle cut-offs performed less well, indicated by lower Youden indices. In the optimism-corrected prediction model [C-statistic: 0.78 (95% CI: 0.75-0.81)], the β-angle had large value (Z-score: 2.1-10.3) and aided construction of a nomogram to predict test outcome.

Conclusion: To predict the outcome of provocation testing for BrS, the β-angle alone does not demonstrate strong diagnostic characteristics. However, the β-angle is an important variable to predict provocation test outcome and thus has added value.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab128DOI Listing
June 2021

Diagnostic accuracy of the response to the brief tachycardia provoked by standing in children suspected for long QT syndrome.

Heart Rhythm O2 2021 Apr 13;2(2):149-159. Epub 2021 Mar 13.

Department of Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Heart Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Adult long QT syndrome (LQTS) patients have inadequate corrected QT interval (QTc) shortening and an abnormal T-wave response to the sudden heart rate acceleration provoked by standing. In adults, this knowledge can be used to aid an LQTS diagnosis and, possibly, for risk stratification. However, data on the diagnostic value of the standing test in children are currently limited.

Objective: To determine the potential value of the standing test to aid LQTS diagnostics in children.

Methods: In a prospective cohort including children (≤18 years) who had a standing test, comprehensive analyses were performed including manual and automated QT interval assessments and determination of T-wave morphology changes.

Results: We included 47 LQTS children and 86 control children. At baseline, the QTc that identified LQTS children with a 90% sensitivity was 435 ms, which yielded a 65% specificity. A QTc ≥ 490 ms after standing only slightly increased sensitivity (91%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 80%-98%) and slightly decreased specificity (58%, 95% CI: 47%-70%). Sensitivity increased slightly more when T-wave abnormalities were present (94%, 95% CI: 82%-99%; specificity 53%, 95% CI: 42%-65%). When a baseline QTc ≥ 440 ms was accompanied by a QTc ≥ 490 ms and T-wave abnormalities after standing, sensitivity further increased (96%, 95% CI: 85%-99%) at the expense of a further specificity decrease (41%, 95% CI: 30%-52%). Beat-to-beat analysis showed that 30 seconds after standing, LQTS children had a greater increase in heart rate compared to controls, which was more evidently present in LQTS boys and LQTS type 1 children.

Conclusion: In children, the standing test has limited additive diagnostic value for LQTS over a baseline electrocardiogram, while T-wave abnormalities after standing also have limited additional value. The standing test for LQTS should only be used with caution in children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hroo.2021.03.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8183857PMC
April 2021

Echocardiographic deformation imaging unmasks global and regional mechanical dysfunction in patients with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation: A multicenter case-control study.

Heart Rhythm 2021 May 28. Epub 2021 May 28.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is diagnosed in patients with sudden onset of ventricular fibrillation of unidentified origin. New diagnostic tools that can detect subtle abnormalities are needed to diagnose and treat patients with an underlying substrate.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore echocardiographic deformation characteristics in IVF patients.

Methods: Echocardiograms were analyzed with deformation imaging by 2-dimensional speckle tracking. Global and regional measurements of the left ventricle (LV) and right ventricle (RV) were performed. Regional LV deformation patterns were evaluated for the presence of postsystolic shortening. Regional RV deformation patterns were classified as type I (normal) or type II/III (abnormal).

Results: In total, 47 IVF patients (mean age 45 years; left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] 56%) and 47 healthy controls (mean age 41 years; LVEF 60%) were included. IVF patients showed more global deformation abnormalities as indicated by lower LV global longitudinal strain (18.5% ± 2.6% vs 21.6% ± 1.8%; P <.001) and higher LV mechanical dispersion (41 ± 12 ms vs 26 ± 6 ms; P <.001). In addition, IVF patients showed more regional LV postsystolic shortening compared to healthy controls (50% vs 11%; P <.001). Abnormal RV deformation patterns were observed in 16% of IVF patients and in none of the control subjects (P <.001).

Conclusion: We were able to show both regional and global echocardiographic deformation abnormalities in IVF patients. This study provides evidence that localized myocardial disease is present in a subset of IVF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.05.030DOI Listing
May 2021

Diagnosis, management and therapeutic strategies for congenital long QT syndrome.

Heart 2021 May 26. Epub 2021 May 26.

Heart Centre, Department of Cardiology, Amsterdam Universitair Medische Centra, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) is characterised by heart rate corrected QT interval prolongation and life-threatening arrhythmias, leading to syncope and sudden death. Variations in genes encoding for cardiac ion channels, accessory ion channel subunits or proteins modulating the function of the ion channel have been identified as disease-causing mutations in up to 75% of all LQTS cases. Based on the underlying genetic defect, LQTS has been subdivided into different subtypes. Growing insights into the genetic background and pathophysiology of LQTS has led to the identification of genotype-phenotype relationships for the most common genetic subtypes, the recognition of genetic and non-genetic modifiers of phenotype, optimisation of risk stratification algorithms and the discovery of gene-specific therapies in LQTS. Nevertheless, despite these great advancements in the LQTS field, large gaps in knowledge still exist. For example, up to 25% of LQTS cases still remain genotype elusive, which hampers proper identification of family members at risk, and it is still largely unknown what determines the large variability in disease severity, where even within one family an identical mutation causes malignant arrhythmias in some carriers, while in other carriers, the disease is clinically silent. In this review, we summarise the current evidence available on the diagnosis, clinical management and therapeutic strategies in LQTS. We also discuss new scientific developments and areas of research, which are expected to increase our understanding of the complex genetic architecture in genotype-negative patients, lead to improved risk stratification in asymptomatic mutation carriers and more targeted (gene-specific and even mutation-specific) therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2020-318259DOI Listing
May 2021

Fractionated Epicardial Electrograms: Implication for Mechanism of the Brugada Pattern.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 02;7(2):258-270

Division of Electrophysiology, Department of Cardiology, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.12.009DOI Listing
February 2021

The Role of Testosterone and Gonadotropins in Arrhythmogenesis.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Feb 18;10(5):e020300. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology Amsterdam University Medical CentersUniversity of AmsterdamHeart Center Amsterdam the Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.020300DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8174285PMC
February 2021

Illuminating the path from genetics to clinical outcome in Brugada syndrome.

Eur Heart J 2021 03;42(11):1091-1093

Department of Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, AMC Heart Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa994DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955964PMC
March 2021

Left Axis Deviation in Brugada Syndrome: Vectorcardiographic Evaluation during Ajmaline Provocation Testing Reveals Additional Depolarization Abnormalities.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jan 6;22(2). Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Heart Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Cardiovascular Sciences, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS) can show a leftward deviation of the frontal QRS-axis upon provocation with sodium channel blockers. The cause of this axis change is unclear. In this study, we aimed to determine (1) the prevalence of this left axis deviation and (2) to evaluate its cause, using the insights that could be derived from vectorcardiograms. Hence, from a large cohort of patients who underwent ajmaline provocation testing ( = 1430), we selected patients in whom a type-1 BrS-ECG was evoked ( = 345). Depolarization and repolarization parameters were analyzed for reconstructed vectorcardiograms and were compared between patients with and without a >30° leftward axis shift. We found (1) that the prevalence of a left axis deviation during provocation testing was 18% and (2) that this left axis deviation was not explained by terminal conduction slowing in the right ventricular outflow tract (4th QRS-loop quartile: +17 ± 14 ms versus +13 ± 15 ms, nonsignificant) but was associated with a more proximal conduction slowing (1st QRS-loop quartile: +12[8;18] ms versus +8[4;12] ms, < 0.001 and 3rd QRS-loop quartile: +12 ± 10 ms versus +5 ± 7 ms, < 0.001). There was no important heterogeneity of the action potential morphology (no difference in the ventricular gradient), but a left axis deviation did result in a discordant repolarization (spatial QRS-T angle: 122[59;147]° versus 44[25;91]°, < 0.001). Thus, although the development of the type-1 BrS-ECG is characterized by a terminal conduction delay in the right ventricle, BrS-patients with a left axis deviation upon sodium channel blocker provocation have an additional proximal conduction slowing, which is associated with a subsequent discordant repolarization. Whether this has implications for risk stratification is still undetermined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22020484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825029PMC
January 2021

Choosing wisely: Implications of drug prescription, drug safety assessment and tools for improvement.

Authors:
Pieter G Postema

Trends Cardiovasc Med 2020 Dec 8. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Heart Center, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tcm.2020.11.009DOI Listing
December 2020

Enhancing rare variant interpretation in inherited arrhythmias through quantitative analysis of consortium disease cohorts and population controls.

Genet Med 2021 01 7;23(1):47-58. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Member of the European Reference Network for rare, low prevalence and/or complex diseases of the heart: ERN GUARD-Heart, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Purpose: Stringent variant interpretation guidelines can lead to high rates of variants of uncertain significance (VUS) for genetically heterogeneous disease like long QT syndrome (LQTS) and Brugada syndrome (BrS). Quantitative and disease-specific customization of American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG/AMP) guidelines can address this false negative rate.

Methods: We compared rare variant frequencies from 1847 LQTS (KCNQ1/KCNH2/SCN5A) and 3335 BrS (SCN5A) cases from the International LQTS/BrS Genetics Consortia to population-specific gnomAD data and developed disease-specific criteria for ACMG/AMP evidence classes-rarity (PM2/BS1 rules) and case enrichment of individual (PS4) and domain-specific (PM1) variants.

Results: Rare SCN5A variant prevalence differed between European (20.8%) and Japanese (8.9%) BrS patients (p = 5.7 × 10) and diagnosis with spontaneous (28.7%) versus induced (15.8%) Brugada type 1 electrocardiogram (ECG) (p = 1.3 × 10). Ion channel transmembrane regions and specific N-terminus (KCNH2) and C-terminus (KCNQ1/KCNH2) domains were characterized by high enrichment of case variants and >95% probability of pathogenicity. Applying the customized rules, 17.4% of European BrS and 74.8% of European LQTS cases had (likely) pathogenic variants, compared with estimated diagnostic yields (case excess over gnomAD) of 19.2%/82.1%, reducing VUS prevalence to close to background rare variant frequency.

Conclusion: Large case-control data sets enable quantitative implementation of ACMG/AMP guidelines and increased sensitivity for inherited arrhythmia genetic testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-00946-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790744PMC
January 2021

Do sex differences in the prevalence of ECG abnormalities vary across ethnic groups living in the Netherlands? A cross-sectional analysis of the population-based HELIUS study.

BMJ Open 2020 09 3;10(9):e039091. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objectives: Major ECG abnormalities have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden in asymptomatic populations. However, sex differences in occurrence of major ECG abnormalities have been poorly studied, particularly across ethnic groups. The objectives were to investigate (1) sex differences in the prevalence of major and, as a secondary outcome, minor ECG abnormalities, (2) whether patterns of sex differences varied across ethnic groups, by age and (3) to what extent conventional cardiovascular risk factors contributed to observed sex differences.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of population-based study.

Setting: Multi-ethnic, population-based Healthy Life in an Urban Setting cohort, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Participants: 8089 men and 11 369 women of Dutch, South-Asian Surinamese, African Surinamese, Ghanaian, Turkish and Moroccan origin aged 18-70 years without CVD.

Outcome Measures: Age-adjusted and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to study sex differences in prevalence of major and, as secondary outcome, minor ECG abnormalities in the overall population, across ethnic groups and by age-groups (18-35, 36-50 and >50 years).

Results: Major and minor ECG abnormalities were less prevalent in women than men (4.6% vs 6.6% and 23.8% vs 39.8%, respectively). After adjustment for conventional risk factors, sex differences in major abnormalities were smaller in ethnic minority groups (OR ranged from 0.61 in Moroccans to 1.32 in South-Asian Surinamese) than in the Dutch (OR 0.49; 95% CI 0.36 to 0.65). Only in South-Asian Surinamese, women did not have a lower odds than men (OR 1.32; 95% CI 0.96 to 1.84). The pattern of smaller sex differences in ethnic minority groups was more pronounced in older than in younger age-groups.

Conclusions: The prevalence of major ECG abnormalities was lower in women than men. However, sex differences were less apparent in ethnic minority groups. Conventional risk factors did not contribute substantially to observed sex differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-039091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473628PMC
September 2020

Prevalence of ECGs Exceeding Thresholds for ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction in Apparently Healthy Individuals: The Role of Ethnicity.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 07 23;9(13):e015477. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Department of Cardiology Heart Center Amsterdam UMC University of Amsterdam The Netherlands.

Background Early prehospital recognition of critical conditions such as ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has prognostic relevance. Current international electrocardiographic STEMI thresholds are predominantly based on individuals of Western European descent. However, because of ethnic electrocardiographic variability both in health and disease, there is a need to reevaluate diagnostic ST-segment elevation thresholds for different populations. We hypothesized that fulfillment of ST-segment elevation thresholds of STEMI criteria (STE-ECGs) in apparently healthy individuals is ethnicity dependent. Methods and Results HELIUS (Healthy Life in an Urban Setting) is a multiethnic cohort study including 10 783 apparently healthy subjects of 6 different ethnicities (African Surinamese, Dutch, Ghanaian, Moroccan, South Asian Surinamese, and Turkish). Prevalence of STE-ECGs across ethnicities, sexes, and age groups was assessed with respect to the 2 international STEMI thresholds: sex and age specific versus sex specific. Mean prevalence of STE-ECGs was 2.8% to 3.4% (age/sex-specific and sex-specific thresholds, respectively), although with large ethnicity-dependent variability. Prevalences in Western European Dutch were 2.3% to 3.0%, but excessively higher in young (<40 years) Ghanaian males (21.7%-27.5%) and lowest in older (≥40 years) Turkish females (0.0%). Ethnicity (sub-Saharan African origin) and other variables (eg, younger age, male sex, high QRS voltages, or anterolateral early repolarization pattern) were positively associated with STE-ECG occurrence, resulting in subgroups with >45% STE-ECGs. Conclusions The accuracy of diagnostic tests partly relies on background prevalence in healthy individuals. In apparently healthy subjects, there is a highly variable ethnicity-dependent prevalence of ECGs with ST-segment elevations exceeding STEMI thresholds. This has potential consequences for STEMI evaluations in individuals who are not of Western European descent, putatively resulting in adverse outcomes with both over- and underdiagnosis of STEMI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.015477DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670498PMC
July 2020

About the different faces of mexiletine.

Authors:
Pieter G Postema

Heart Rhythm 2020 11 13;17(11):1951-1952. Epub 2020 Jun 13.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Heart Center, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.06.013DOI Listing
November 2020

Transethnic Genome-Wide Association Study Provides Insights in the Genetic Architecture and Heritability of Long QT Syndrome.

Circulation 2020 Jul 20;142(4):324-338. Epub 2020 May 20.

Masonic Medical Research Institute, Utica, NY (R.P.).

Background: Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a rare genetic disorder and a major preventable cause of sudden cardiac death in the young. A causal rare genetic variant with large effect size is identified in up to 80% of probands (genotype positive) and cascade family screening shows incomplete penetrance of genetic variants. Furthermore, a proportion of cases meeting diagnostic criteria for LQTS remain genetically elusive despite genetic testing of established genes (genotype negative). These observations raise the possibility that common genetic variants with small effect size contribute to the clinical picture of LQTS. This study aimed to characterize and quantify the contribution of common genetic variation to LQTS disease susceptibility.

Methods: We conducted genome-wide association studies followed by transethnic meta-analysis in 1656 unrelated patients with LQTS of European or Japanese ancestry and 9890 controls to identify susceptibility single nucleotide polymorphisms. We estimated the common variant heritability of LQTS and tested the genetic correlation between LQTS susceptibility and other cardiac traits. Furthermore, we tested the aggregate effect of the 68 single nucleotide polymorphisms previously associated with the QT-interval in the general population using a polygenic risk score.

Results: Genome-wide association analysis identified 3 loci associated with LQTS at genome-wide statistical significance (<5×10) near , , and , and 1 missense variant in (p.Asp85Asn) at the suggestive threshold (<10). Heritability analyses showed that ≈15% of variance in overall LQTS susceptibility was attributable to common genetic variation ( 0.148; standard error 0.019). LQTS susceptibility showed a strong genome-wide genetic correlation with the QT-interval in the general population (r=0.40; =3.2×10). The polygenic risk score comprising common variants previously associated with the QT-interval in the general population was greater in LQTS cases compared with controls (<10-13), and it is notable that, among patients with LQTS, this polygenic risk score was greater in patients who were genotype negative compared with those who were genotype positive (<0.005).

Conclusions: This work establishes an important role for common genetic variation in susceptibility to LQTS. We demonstrate overlap between genetic control of the QT-interval in the general population and genetic factors contributing to LQTS susceptibility. Using polygenic risk score analyses aggregating common genetic variants that modulate the QT-interval in the general population, we provide evidence for a polygenic architecture in genotype negative LQTS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.045956DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7382531PMC
July 2020

SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, and inherited arrhythmia syndromes.

Heart Rhythm 2020 09 31;17(9):1456-1462. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Heart Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; European Reference Network for Rare and Low Prevalence Complex Diseases of the Heart (ERN GUARD-Heart). Electronic address:

Ever since the first case was reported at the end of 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a serious threat to public health globally in short time. At this point in time, there is no proven effective therapy. The interactions with concomitant disease are largely unknown, and that may be particularly pertinent to inherited arrhythmia syndrome. An arrhythmogenic effect of COVID-19 can be expected, potentially contributing to disease outcome. This may be of importance for patients with an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias, either secondary to acquired conditions or comorbidities or consequent to inherited syndromes. Management of patients with inherited arrhythmia syndromes such as long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, short QT syndrome, and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic may prove particularly challenging. Depending on the inherited defect involved, these patients may be susceptible to proarrhythmic effects of COVID-19-related issues such as fever, stress, electrolyte disturbances, and use of antiviral drugs. Here, we describe the potential COVID-19-associated risks and therapeutic considerations for patients with distinct inherited arrhythmia syndromes and provide recommendations, pending local possibilities, for their monitoring and management during this pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.03.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7156157PMC
September 2020

Cardiac radioablation-A systematic review.

Heart Rhythm 2020 08 20;17(8):1381-1392. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Heart Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Cardiovascular Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Failure of drugs and catheter ablation procedures for the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias is still extremely relevant. Recently, stereotactic body radiotherapy has been introduced to treat therapy refractory patients. In this systematic review (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, CRD42019133212), we aimed to summarize electrophysiological and histopathological effects of radioablation in animals, patients, and extracted and perfused hearts. A systematic search was performed in OVID MEDLINE, OVID Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, Google Scholar, ClinicalTrials.gov, and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) from inception to September 2019. Identified records were independently screened for eligibility by 2 reviewers. Risk of bias and methodological quality were assessed using the SYRCLE, ROBINS-I, or Murad tool and tailored to the different study designs. We included 13 preclinical and 10 clinical publications. Large heterogeneity in study designs prompted a narrative synthesis approach. Baseline, (pre-)procedural details, outcome, target tissue analyses, and safety data were extracted and summarized. In animal studies evaluating electrophysiological parameters, radioablation induced a reduction in voltage/potential amplitude or bidirectional block in target areas in 93.2% of animals. Atrioventricular block (first to third degree) was induced in 78.3% of animals, and in studies evaluating ventricular arrhythmia inducibility, 75% reduction was achieved. In patients, predominantly ventricular tachycardias were targeted with >85% reduction in arrhythmia episodes during follow-up with an encouraging short-term safety profile. Preclinical and clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of radioablation is limited in both quantity and quality. The results of radioablation for therapy refractory patients with ventricular tachycardia are promising, but further research is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.03.013DOI Listing
August 2020

Improving long QT syndrome diagnosis by a polynomial-based T-wave morphology characterization.

Heart Rhythm 2020 05 7;17(5 Pt A):752-758. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Background: Diagnosing long QT syndrome (LQTS) remains challenging because of a considerable overlap in QT interval between patients with LQTS and healthy subjects. Characterizing T-wave morphology might improve LQTS diagnosis.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to improve LQTS diagnosis by combining new polynomial-based T-wave morphology parameters with the corrected QT interval (QTc), age, and sex in a model.

Methods: A retrospective cohort consisting of 333 patients with LQTS and 345 genotype-negative family members was used in this study. For each patient, a linear combination of the first 2 Hermite-Gauss (HG) polynomials was fitted to the STT segments of an average complex of all precordial leads and limb leads I and II. The weight coefficients as well as the error of the best fit were used to characterize T-wave morphology. Subjects were classified as patients with LQTS or controls by clinical QTc cutoffs and 3 support vector machine models fed with different features. An external cohort consisting of 72 patients and 45 controls was finally used to check the robustness of the models.

Results: Baseline QTc cutoffs were specific but had low sensitivity in diagnosing LQTS. The model with T-wave morphology features, QTc, age, and sex had the best overall accuracy (84%), followed by a model with QTc, age, and sex (79%). The model with T-wave morphology features especially performed better in LQTS type 3 patients (69%).

Conclusion: T-wave morphologies can be characterized by fitting a linear combination of the first 2 Hermite-Gauss polynomials. Adding T-wave morphology characterization to age, sex, and QTc in a support vector machine model improves LQTS diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2019.12.020DOI Listing
May 2020

An initial exploration of subtraction electrocardiography to detect myocardial ischemia in the prehospital setting.

Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol 2020 05 10;25(3):e12722. Epub 2019 Nov 10.

Department of Cardiology, Heart-Lung Center, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Background: In the prehospital triage of patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of acute myocardial ischemia, reliable myocardial ischemia detection in the electrocardiogram (ECG) is pivotal. Due to large interindividual variability and overlap between ischemic and nonischemic ECG-patterns, incorporation of a previous elective (reference) ECG may improve accuracy. The aim of the current study was to explore the potential value of serial ECG analysis using subtraction electrocardiography.

Methods: SUBTRACT is a multicenter retrospective observational study, including patients who were prehospitally evaluated for acute myocardial ischemia. For each patient, an elective previously recorded reference ECG was subtracted from the ambulance ECG. Patients were classified as myocardial ischemia cases or controls, based on the in-hospital diagnosis. The diagnostic performance of subtraction electrocardiography was tested using logistic regression of 28 variables describing the differences between the reference and ambulance ECGs. The Uni-G ECG Analysis Program was used for state-of-the-art single-ECG interpretation of the ambulance ECG.

Results: In 1,229 patients, the mean area-under-the-curve of subtraction electrocardiography was 0.80 (95%CI: 0.77-0.82). The performance of our new method was comparable to single-ECG analysis using the Uni-G algorithm: sensitivities were 66% versus 67% (p-value > .05), respectively; specificities were 80% versus 81% (p-value > .05), respectively.

Conclusions: In our initial exploration, the diagnostic performance of subtraction electrocardiography for the detection of acute myocardial ischemia proved equal to that of state-of-the-art automated single-ECG analysis by the Uni-G algorithm. Possibly, refinement of both algorithms, or even integration of the two, could surpass current electrocardiographic myocardial ischemia detection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/anec.12722DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7358788PMC
May 2020

Predicting cardiac electrical response to sodium-channel blockade and Brugada syndrome using polygenic risk scores.

Eur Heart J 2019 10;40(37):3097-3107

Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Heart Center, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, Meibergdreef 9, AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Aims: Sodium-channel blockers (SCBs) are associated with arrhythmia, but variability of cardiac electrical response remains unexplained. We sought to identify predictors of ajmaline-induced PR and QRS changes and Type I Brugada syndrome (BrS) electrocardiogram (ECG).

Methods And Results: In 1368 patients that underwent ajmaline infusion for suspected BrS, we performed measurements of 26 721 ECGs, dose-response mixed modelling and genotyping. We calculated polygenic risk scores (PRS) for PR interval (PRSPR), QRS duration (PRSQRS), and Brugada syndrome (PRSBrS) derived from published genome-wide association studies and used regression analysis to identify predictors of ajmaline dose related PR change (slope) and QRS slope. We derived and validated using bootstrapping a predictive model for ajmaline-induced Type I BrS ECG. Higher PRSPR, baseline PR, and female sex are associated with more pronounced PR slope, while PRSQRS and age are positively associated with QRS slope (P < 0.01 for all). PRSBrS, baseline QRS duration, presence of Type II or III BrS ECG at baseline, and family history of BrS are independently associated with the occurrence of a Type I BrS ECG, with good predictive accuracy (optimism-corrected C-statistic 0.74).

Conclusion: We show for the first time that genetic factors underlie the variability of cardiac electrical response to SCB. PRSBrS, family history, and a baseline ECG can predict the development of a diagnostic drug-induced Type I BrS ECG with clinically relevant accuracy. These findings could lead to the use of PRS in the diagnosis of BrS and, if confirmed in population studies, to identify patients at risk for toxicity when given SCB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz435DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769824PMC
October 2019

Ethnic differences in patients with Brugada syndrome and arrhythmic events: New insights from Survey on Arrhythmic Events in Brugada Syndrome.

Heart Rhythm 2019 10 5;16(10):1468-1474. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Background: There is limited information on ethnic differences between patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS) and arrhythmic events (AEs).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare clinical, electrocardiographic (ECG), electrophysiological, and genetic characteristics between white and Asian patients with BrS and AEs.

Methods: The Survey on Arrhythmic Events in Brugada Syndrome is a multicenter survey from Western and Asian countries, gathering 678 patients with BrS and first documented AE. After excluding patients with other (n = 14 [2.1%]) or unknown (n = 30 [4.4%]) ethnicity, 364 (53.7%) whites and 270 (39.8%) Asians comprised the study group.

Results: There was no difference in AE age onset (41.3 ± 16.1 years in whites vs 43.3 ± 12.3 years in Asians; P = .285). Higher proportions of whites were observed in pediatric and elderly populations. Asians were predominantly men (98.1% vs 85.7% in whites; P < .001) and frequently presented with aborted cardiac arrest (71.1% vs 56%; P < .001). Asians tended to display more spontaneous type 1 BrS-ECG pattern (71.5% vs 64.3%; P = .068). A family history of sudden cardiac death was noted more in whites (29.1% vs 11.5%; P < .001), with a higher rate of SCN5A mutation carriers (40.1% vs 13.2% in Asians; P < .001), as well as more fever-related AEs (8.5% vs 2.9%; P = .011). No difference was observed between the 2 groups regarding history of syncope and ventricular arrhythmia inducibility.

Conclusion: There are important differences between Asian and white patients with BrS. Asian patients present almost exclusively as male adults, more often with aborted cardiac arrest and spontaneous type 1 BrS-ECG. However, they have less family history of sudden cardiac death and markedly lower SCN5A mutation rates. The striking difference in SCN5A mutation rates should be tested in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2019.07.003DOI Listing
October 2019

Incidence and predictors of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy and its complications in idiopathic ventricular fibrillation patients.

Europace 2019 Oct;21(10):1519-1526

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Aims: Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is a rare cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation is currently the only treatment option. Limited data are available on the prevalence and complications of ICD therapy in these patients. We sought to investigate ICD therapy and its complications in patients with IVF.

Methods And Results: Patients were selected from a national registry of IVF patients. Patients in whom no underlying diagnosis was found during follow-up were eligible for inclusion. Recurrence of ventricular arrhythmia (VA) was derived from medical and ICD records, electrogram records of ICD therapies were used to differentiate between appropriate or inappropriate interventions. Independent predictors for appropriate ICD shock were calculated using cox regression. In 217 IVF patients, recurrence of sustained VAs occurred in 66 patients (30%) during a median follow-up period of 6.1 years. Ten patients died (4.6%). Thirty-eight patients (17.5%) experienced inappropriate ICD therapy, and 32 patients (14.7%) had device-related complications. Symptoms before cardiac arrest [hazard ratio (HR): 2.51, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.48-4.24], signs of conduction disease (HR: 2.27, 95% CI: 1.15-4.47), and carrier of the DPP6 risk haplotype (HR: 3.24, 1.70-6.17) were identified as independent predictors of appropriate shock occurrence.

Conclusion: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy is an effective treatment in IVF, treating recurrences of potentially lethal VAs in approximately one-third of patients during long-term follow-up. However, device-related complications and inappropriate shocks were also frequent. We found significant predictors for appropriate ICD therapy. This may imply that these patients require additional management to prevent recurrent events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euz151DOI Listing
October 2019

Characterization and Management of Arrhythmic Events in Young Patients With Brugada Syndrome.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 04;73(14):1756-1765

Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Information on young patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS) and arrhythmic events (AEs) is limited.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe their characteristics and management as well as risk factors for AE recurrence.

Methods: A total of 57 patients (age ≤20 years), all with BrS and AEs, were divided into pediatric (age ≤12 years; n = 26) and adolescents (age 13 to 20 years; n = 31).

Results: Patients' median age at time of first AE was 14 years, with a majority of males (74%), Caucasians (70%), and probands (79%) who presented as aborted cardiac arrest (84%). A significant proportion of patients (28%) exhibited fever-related AE. Family history of sudden cardiac death (SCD), prior syncope, spontaneous type 1 Brugada electrocardiogram (ECG), inducible ventricular fibrillation at electrophysiological study, and SCN5A mutations were present in 26%, 49%, 65%, 28%, and 58% of patients, respectively. The pediatric group differed from the adolescents, with a greater proportion of females, Caucasians, fever-related AEs, and spontaneous type-1 ECG. During follow-up, 68% of pediatric and 64% of adolescents had recurrent AE, with median time of 9.9 and 27.0 months, respectively. Approximately one-third of recurrent AEs occurred on quinidine therapy, and among the pediatric group, 60% of recurrent AEs were fever-related. Risk factors for recurrent AE included sinus node dysfunction, atrial arrhythmias, intraventricular conduction delay, or large S-wave on ECG lead I in the pediatric group and the presence of SCN5A mutation among adolescents.

Conclusions: Young BrS patients with AE represent a very arrhythmogenic group. Current management after first arrhythmia episode is associated with high recurrence rate. Alternative therapies, besides defibrillator implantation, should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.01.048DOI Listing
April 2019

Exercise testing after chronic total coronary occlusion revascularization in patients with STEMI and a concurrent CTO: A subanalysis of the EXPLORE-trial.

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2019 Oct 9;94(4):536-545. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Department of Cardiology, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Heart Center, The Netherlands.

Objectives: To assess the effect of chronic total occlusion percutaneous coronary intervention (CTO PCI) on ventricular ectopy (VE) and symptomatology during exercise testing.

Background: During exercise, the hypoxic myocardium in the CTO-territory can act as a substrate for VE and could lead to anginal complaints.

Methods: In the EXPLORE-trial, 302 ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)-patients were randomized to CTO PCI or no-CTO PCI. For this sub-study, we analyzed all available exercise electrocardiograms (X-ECGs) at 4 months follow-up on symptoms and electrocardiographic parameters.

Results: A total of 155 X-ECGs were available, 80 in the CTO PCI group (51.6%) and 75 in the no-CTO PCI group (48.4%). There were no differences regarding exercised time, achieved endurance, ST-deviation nor maximum heart-rate. The percentage of patients experiencing chest-pain during exercise was lower in the CTO PCI group (0% vs. 8.5%, p = .03). Also, there was a trend towards a higher maximum systolic blood pressure (SBP, 185 mmHg vs. 175, p = .09). No difference in VE was found between randomization groups, but patients with successful CTO PCI had a higher frequency of VE, compared to failed and no-CTO PCI (26% vs. 8%, p = .02). This did not result in higher frequencies of sustained ventricular arrhythmias or mortality.

Conclusion: In conclusion, in STEMI-patients, CTO PCI is associated with a small reduction of chest-pain during exercise and tended to be associated with an increase of maximum SBP. The observation that successful CTO PCI was associated with more VE during exercise, compared with failed/no-CTO PCI needs further exploration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ccd.28282DOI Listing
October 2019

Time-to-first appropriate shock in patients implanted prophylactically with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator: data from the Survey on Arrhythmic Events in BRUgada Syndrome (SABRUS).

Europace 2019 May;21(5):796-802

Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, PA, USA.

Aims: Data on predictors of time-to-first appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy in patients with Brugada Syndrome (BrS) and prophylactically implanted ICD's are scarce.

Methods And Results: SABRUS (Survey on Arrhythmic Events in BRUgada Syndrome) is an international survey on 678 BrS patients who experienced arrhythmic event (AE) including 252 patients in whom AE occurred after prophylactic ICD implantation. Analysis was performed on time-to-first appropriate ICD discharge regarding patients' characteristics. Multivariate logistic regression models were utilized to identify which parameters predicted time to arrhythmia ≤5 years. The median time-to-first appropriate ICD therapy was 24.8 ± 2.8 months. A shorter time was observed in patients from Asian ethnicity (P < 0.05), those with syncope (P = 0.001), and those with Class IIa indication for ICD (P = 0.001). A longer time was associated with a positive family history of sudden cardiac death (P < 0.05). Multivariate Cox regression revealed shorter time-to-ICD therapy in patients with syncope [odds ratio (OR) 1.65, P = 0.001]. In 193 patients (76.6%), therapy was delivered during the first 5 years. Factors associated with this time were syncope (OR 0.36, P = 0.001), spontaneous Type 1 Brugada electrocardiogram (ECG) (OR 0.5, P < 0.05), and Class IIa indication (OR 0.38, P < 0.01) as opposed to Class IIb (OR 2.41, P < 0.01). A near-significant trend for female gender was also noted (OR 0.13, P = 0.052). Two score models for prediction of <5 years to shock were built.

Conclusion: First appropriate therapy in BrS patients with prophylactic ICD's occurred during the first 5 years in 76.6% of patients. Syncope and spontaneous Type 1 Brugada ECG correlated with a shorter time to ICD therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euy301DOI Listing
May 2019

Determination and Interpretation of the QT Interval.

Circulation 2018 11;138(21):2345-2358

Heart Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology (A.S.V., K.V.V.L., N.H., S.e.K., M.H.A.S., H.M.J.S., A.A.M.W., P.G.P.), Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is associated with potentially fatal arrhythmias. Treatment is very effective, but its diagnosis may be challenging. Importantly, different methods are used to assess the QT interval, which makes its recognition difficult. QT experts advocate manual measurements with the tangent or threshold method. However, differences between these methods and their performance in LQTS diagnosis have not been established. We aimed to assess similarities and differences between these 2 methods for QT interval analysis to aid in accurate QT assessment for LQTS.

Methods: Patients with a confirmed pathogenic variant in KCNQ1(LQT1), KCNH2(LQT2), or SCN5A(LQT3) genes and their family members were included. Genotype-positive patients were identified as LQTS cases and genotype-negative family members as controls. ECGs were analyzed with both methods, providing inter- and intrareader validity and diagnostic accuracy. Cutoff values based on control population's 95th and 99th percentiles, and LQTS-patients' 1st and 5th percentiles were established based on the method to correct for heart rate, age, and sex.

Results: We included 1484 individuals from 265 families, aged 33±21 years and 55% females. In the total cohort, QT was 10.4 ms shorter compared with QT (95% limits of agreement±20.5 ms, P<0.0001). For all genotypes, QT was shorter than QT ( P<0.0001), but this was less pronounced in LQT2. Both methods yielded a high inter- and intrareader validity (intraclass correlation coefficient >0.96), and a high diagnostic accuracy (area under the curve >0.84). Using the current guideline cutoff (QTc interval 480 ms), both methods had similar specificity but yielded a different sensitivity. QTc interval cutoff values of QT were lower compared with QT and different depending on the correction for heart rate, age, and sex.

Conclusion: The QT interval varies depending on the method used for its assessment, yet both methods have a high validity and can both be used in diagnosing LQTS. However, for diagnostic purposes current guideline cutoff values yield different results for these 2 methods and could result in inappropriate reassurance or treatment. Adjusted cutoff values are therefore specified for method, correction formula, age, and sex. In addition, a freely accessible online probability calculator for LQTS ( www.QTcalculator.org ) has been made available as an aid in the interpretation of the QT interval.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.033943DOI Listing
November 2018

Support vector machine-based assessment of the T-wave morphology improves long QT syndrome diagnosis.

Europace 2018 Nov;20(suppl_3):iii113-iii119

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Aims: Diagnosing long QT syndrome (LQTS) is challenging due to a considerable overlap of the QTc-interval between LQTS patients and healthy controls. The aim of this study was to investigate the added value of T-wave morphology markers obtained from 12-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs) in diagnosing LQTS in a large cohort of gene-positive LQTS patients and gene-negative family members using a support vector machine.

Methods And Results: A retrospective study was performed including 688 digital 12-lead ECGs recorded from genotype-positive LQTS patients and genotype-negative relatives at their first visit. Two models were trained and tested equally: a baseline model with age, gender, RR-interval, QT-interval, and QTc-intervals as inputs and an extended model including morphology features as well. The best performing baseline model showed an area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.821, whereas the extended model showed an AUC of 0.901. Sensitivity and specificity at the maximal Youden's indexes changed from 0.694 and 0.829 with the baseline model to 0.820 and 0.861 with the extended model. Compared with clinically used QTc-interval cut-off values (>480 ms), the extended model showed a major drop in false negative classifications of LQTS patients.

Conclusion: The support vector machine-based extended model with T-wave morphology markers resulted in a major rise in sensitivity and specificity at the maximal Youden's index. From this, it can be concluded that T-wave morphology assessment has an added value in the diagnosis of LQTS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euy243DOI Listing
November 2018
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