Short QT Syndrome

What Is Short QT

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Short QT Syndrome (SQTS) is a congenital abnormality in the electrical activity within the muscle cells of the heart.  SQTS is named because of it diagnsotic characteristics on the electrocardiogram (ECG).  To understand what a short QT is we must first understand what information is found on a ECG.

The ECG represents the electrical activity of the heart.  As the heart beats, the electrical activity is recorded on surface electrodes.  This electrical information is translated into wave patterns on paper that can be read by a physician.  The direction and duration of the wave patterns help doctors determine normal from abnormal electrical patterns.  An ECG can demonstrate abnormal patterns revealing old or new heart attacks, need for a pace maker, and important to our discussion, Short QT Syndrome.

The normal ECG below has multiple wave forms.  All of these wave forms are reviewed to determine normal tracing from an abnormal heart tracing.

We will concentrate on a single cardiac cycle in a single wave form (single lead) represented by the figure below. 

The heart is made up of four chambers.  Two of these chambers are the right and left atria.  They pump blood into the right and left ventricles respectively.  The activity of the atria is represented by the P-wave.  After the atria contract the right ventricles pumps blood into the lungs and the left ventricle pumps blood to the rest of the body.  This event is simultaneous and is represented by the QRS.  The final wave form seen below is the T-wave.  The end of the T-wave coincides with completion of heart muscle activity.  The heart is now ready to beat again.

This basic understanding about ECGs will help with the next section: What Is A QT Interval


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