Familial aggregation of QT-interval variability in a general population: Results from the NHLBI Family Heart Study

Y. Hong, Pm Rautaharju, Pn Hopkins, Dk Arnett, L. Djoussé, Js Pankow, P. Sholinsky, Dc Rao, Ma Province

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


QT-interval prolongation is associated with increased risk of cardiac death. Although information on genetics and molecular mechanisms of the congenital long QT syndrome is mounting, limited data are available on the genetics of QT interval in the general population. Heart rate adjusted QT intervals (Bazett's QTc, and QT index (QTI)) were assessed by elecotrocardiography in 2399 members aged 25-91 years of 468 randomly selected families participating in the NHLBI Family Heart Study. Familial correlation and segregation analyses were performed to evaluate the genetics of the variability of QT interval in this population. The parent-offspring (0.14 ± 0.03) and sibling (0.18 ± 0.03) correlations for age and sex-adjusted QTc were moderate, while the spouse correlation was close to zero (0.09 ± 0.06). This suggests that there are familial/genetic influences on QT-interval variability. Segregation analysis results suggest that there is a major effect in addition to heritable multifactorial effects (h2=0.34), but the major effect did not follow Mendelian inheritance. Further adjustments of QTc for other major cardiovascular risk factors did not significantly change the results. Similar results were found for QTI. The QT-interval variation in the general population is influenced by moderate heritable multifactorial effects in addition to a major effect. A major gene effect is not directly supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Familial aggregation
  • Genetic epidemilogy
  • Heritability
  • QT interval
  • Segregation analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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