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Risk of death in the long QT syndrome when a sibling has died

Publication year
Kaufman, E. S.; McNitt, S.; Moss, A. J.; Zareba, W.; Robinson, J. L.; Hall, W. J.; Ackerman, M. J.; Benhorin, J.; Locati, E. T.; Napolitano, C.; Priori, S. G.; Schwartz, P. J.; Towbin, J. A.; Vincent, G. M.; Zhang, L.

BACKGROUND: Sudden death of a sibling is thought to be associated with greater risk of death in long QT syndrome (LQTS). However, there is no evidence of such an association. OBJECTIVE: This study sought to test the hypothesis that sudden death of a sibling is a risk factor for death or aborted cardiac arrest (ACA) in patients with LQTS. METHODS: We examined all probands and first-degree and second-degree relatives in the International Long QT Registry from birth to age 40 years with QTc >/= 0.45 s. Covariates included sibling death, QTc, gender by age, syncope, and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and beta-blocker treatment. End points were (1) severe events (ACA, LQTS-related death) and (2) any cardiac event (syncope, ACA, or LQTS-related death). RESULTS: Of 1915 subjects, 270 had a sibling who died. There were 213 severe events and 829 total cardiac events. More subjects with history of sibling death received beta-blocker therapy. Sibling death was not significantly associated with risk of ACA or LQTS-related death, but was associated with increased risk of syncope. QTc >/= 0.53 s (hazard ratio 2.5, P <.01), history of syncope (hazard ratio 6.1, P <.01), and gender were strongly associated with risk of ACA or LQTS-related death. CONCLUSION: Sudden death of a sibling prompted more aggressive treatment but did not predict risk of death or ACA, whereas QTc >/= 0.53 s, gender, and syncope predicted this risk. All subjects should receive appropriate beta-blocker therapy. The decision to implant an ICD should be based on an individual’s own risk characteristics (QTc, gender, and history of syncope).

Research abstracts