Heart rhythm typical of ME/CFS confirmed in large UK study

Shortened QTc interval in chronic fatigue syndrome
– Source: Bulletin of the IACFS/ME, Summer 2012

By Ashley Scott, Julia L Newton, et al.

[Note: The QT interval involves the heart’s electrical system and the activity of the ion channels that transport positively charged potassium atoms (ions) across the membrane of cardiac muscle cells, into and out of the cells, to maintain the heart’s normal rhythm. The QT interval is the time between the start of the Q wave and end of the T wave in the heart’s electrical cycle. The faster the heart rate, the shorter the QT interval.]

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a common, debilitating disease that is frequently associated with autonomic dysfunction.

One previous study of a selected population using a manual measurement technique suggested CFS is associated with a shortened QTc interval. [QTc stands for ‘corrected QT’ – a way of estimating what QT interval would be at a heart rate of 60 bpm, as a way of comparing QT over time.]

Here we assessed QTc in a large UK population of CFS patients using automated, clinically applicable, measurement techniques, and confirmed that QTc is significantly shortened in CFS patients compared to non-CFS fatigued and control populations.

Automated measurement of QTc in clinical practice has potential utility as a diagnostic biomarker in CFS.

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Source: Bulletin of the IACFS/ME, Summer 2012. Scott A, Norton M, Mabillard H, Newton JL. UK NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Aging, Medical School, and Institute for Aging and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. Funding: ME Research UK, Irish ME Trust, John Richardson Research Group, CFS/ME Northern Clinical Network. [Email: julia.newton@ncl.ac.uk]

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