The Impact of Cirrhosis and Prescription Medications on QTc Interval Before and After Liver Transplantation

Andrew D. Santeusanio, Kevin G. Dunsky, Stephanie Pan, Thomas D. Schiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Higher rates of corrected QT (QTc) prolongation have been reported in patients with cirrhosis. The impact of liver transplantation and prescription medications on the natural history of QTc prolongation has yet to be well characterized. Methods: This was a single-center review of patients receiving (group 1) or listed for (group 2) a liver transplant during 2014. Patients in group 1 were followed prospectively from the date of transplantation to assess rates of QTc normalization posttransplant. In group 2, patients were evaluated from the date of listing up until December 2015 to assess the prevalence of QTc prolongation among liver transplant candidates. Results: In group 1, 22 (75.9%) patients with QTc intervals >460 milliseconds at the time of transplant established normal baseline QTc intervals following transplantation. The median time to this QTc normalization was 17 days. In group 2, 30 (16.9%) patients had at least 1 documented QTc interval >500 milliseconds with prevalence rates of 42.9%, 19.0%, and 10.2% in patients with natural model of end-stage liver disease scores of >30, 16 to 30, and <16, respectively (P <.01). Overall, 49.4% of patients in group 1 and 47.5% of patients in group 2 were prescribed QTc prolonging medications. Conclusion: QTc prolongation will resolve following transplantation in the majority of patients and generally occurs within the first several weeks. Among the listed liver transplant candidates, higher rates of clinically significant QTc prolongation may be observed in patients with more severe underlying cirrhosis. QTc prolonging medications are commonly prescribed in this population and warrant monitoring following initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • MELD
  • QT prolongation
  • electrocardiogram
  • liver transplantation
  • prescription medications


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