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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 212178, 8 pages
Review Article

Mechanisms, Risk Factors, and Management of Acquired Long QT Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review

Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Heraklion, 711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Received 31 October 2011; Accepted 22 December 2011

Academic Editors: H. Kitabata and S. Sun

Copyright © 2012 Eleftherios M. Kallergis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Long QT syndrome is characterized by prolongation of the corrected QT (QTc) interval on the surface electrocardiogram and is associated with precipitation of torsade de pointes (TdP), a polymorphic ventricular tachycardia that may cause sudden death. Acquired long QT syndrome describes pathologic excessive prolongation of the QT interval, upon exposure to an environmental stressor, with reversion back to normal following removal of the stressor. The most common environmental stressor in acquired long QT syndrome is drug therapy. Acquired long QT syndrome is an important issue for clinicians and a significant public health problem concerning the large number of drugs with this adverse effect with a potentially fatal outcome, the large number of patients exposed to these drugs, and our inability to predict the risk for a given individual. In this paper, we focus on mechanisms underlying QT prolongation, risk factors for torsades de pointes and describe the short- and long-term treatment of acquired long QT syndrome.