Prolonged QTc in HIV-Infected Patients: A Need for Routine ECG Screening

Merle Myerson, Emma Kaplan-Lewis, Eduard Poltavskiy, David Ferris, Heejung Bang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: With HIV-infected patients living longer, there is an increased burden of comorbidities related to aging, HIV itself, and polypharmacy. Cardiac morbidity is of particular importance. Methods: This 2-group comparison study (156 HIV-positive and 105 HIV-negative patients) investigated the prevalence of abnormalities in and factors associated with an electrocardiogram (ECG) measure, corrected QT interval (QTc), where prolongation can lead to arrhythmia and sudden death. Medications prescribed (antiretroviral therapy, psychiatric medications, methadone, and antibiotics) at the time of ECG were noted. Patient characteristics, medications, QTc, and ECG characteristics were compared between the 2 groups. Results: Prolongation (29% versus 19%) and extreme prolongation (6% versus 1%) in QTc were more frequent in those with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy was associated with lower odds of prolonged QTc (odds ratio [OR] = 0.35; P =.04), while methadone with higher odds (OR = 4.6; P =.01) in HIV-positive patients. With methadone and medication groups adjusted, HIV status was still associated with 17-millisecond longer QTc (P =.04). Conclusion: This study provides evidence that patients with HIV may have clinically relevant longer QTc interval on ECG. Baseline and routine ECG monitoring may be warranted among patients living with HIV in clinical practice based on cumulative evidence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2019


  • ECG
  • HIV
  • QT prolongation
  • QTc
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • methadone


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