, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 659–667 | Cite as

Prolongation of the QTc interval in HIV-infected individuals compared to the general population

  • Nico ReinschEmail author
  • Marina Arendt
  • Marie Henrike Geisel
  • Christina Schulze
  • Volker Holzendorf
  • Anna Warnke
  • Till Neumann
  • Norbert H. Brockmeyer
  • Dirk Schadendorf
  • Lewin Eisele
  • Raimund Erbel
  • Susanne Moebus
  • Karl-Heinz Jöckel
  • Stefan Esser
  • On behalf of HIV HEART Study Group and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Investigative Group
Original Paper



Prolonged QT interval is associated with arrhythmias and sudden death. An increased prevalence of QT interval prolongation in human immunodeficiency virus-infected (HIV) subjects was previously described. The impact of different medications and HIV infection itself on the QT interval is rarely investigated in large HIV+ cohorts.


We compared QT interval measurement in 496 HIV(+) patients of the HIV-HEART study (HIVH) and 992 sex- and age-matched controls of the population-based German Heinz Nixdorf Recall study (HNR). QT corrected for heart rate (QTc) >440 ms in male and >460 ms in female was considered pathological. We analysed the impact of HIV status and HIV medication on QTc prolongation in the HIVH subjects.


We observed longer QTc in HIVH subjects compared with HNR controls: 424.1 ms ± 23.3 vs. 411.3 ± 15.3 ms for male and 435.5 ms ± 19.6 vs. 416.4 ms ± 17.3 for female subjects (p < 0.0001 for both sexes). Adjusting for QT prolonging medication the mean differences in QTc between the two studies remained significant with 12.6 ms (95% CI 10.5–14.8; p value <0.0001) for male and 19.3 ms (95% CI 14.5–24.2; p value <0.0001) for female subjects. Prolongation of QTc was pathologic in 22.8 vs. 3.9% of HIV(+) and non-infected males and in 12.1 vs. 1.8% of the females [OR of 7.9 (5.0–12.6) and OR of 6.7 (1.8–24.2), respectively]. Smoking behaviour was an independent factor to lengthen QTc in HIV(+) patients. Diabetes mellitus was not a risk factor itself, but might be associated with medication which was associated with LQT. We could not observe any influence of the HIV status, ART, or any co-medication on the QTc.


Our study showed that HIV(+) patients had significantly longer QTc intervals compared to the general population. The number of patients with pathologic QTc prolongation was significantly increased in HIV(+) population.


QTc prolongation HIV Electrocardiogram ART 



The authors give their respect and thanks to all participating and supporting persons of the present study, including the staff of the recruiting centers, i.e. the team of Dr. Hower (Dortmund).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nico Reinsch
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marina Arendt
    • 3
  • Marie Henrike Geisel
    • 3
  • Christina Schulze
    • 4
  • Volker Holzendorf
    • 5
  • Anna Warnke
    • 4
  • Till Neumann
    • 6
  • Norbert H. Brockmeyer
    • 7
  • Dirk Schadendorf
    • 4
  • Lewin Eisele
    • 3
  • Raimund Erbel
    • 3
  • Susanne Moebus
    • 3
  • Karl-Heinz Jöckel
    • 3
  • Stefan Esser
    • 4
  • On behalf of HIV HEART Study Group and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Investigative Group
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine I and Cardiology, Division of ElectrophysiologyAlfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach HospitalEssenGermany
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyWitten/Herdecke UniversityWittenGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (IMIBE)University Hospital EssenEssenGermany
  4. 4.Clinic of Dermatology, Department of VenerologyUniversity Hospital EssenEssenGermany
  5. 5.Clinical Trial Centre Leipzig-Coordination Centre for Clinical Trials (ZKS Leipzig-KKS)University LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  6. 6.Out-Patient-Clinic StaubachBochumGermany
  7. 7.Clinic of Dermatology, Venerology and AllergologyRuhr University BochumBochumGermany

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