Perianesthesia Implications and Considerations for Drug-Induced QT Interval Prolongation (1.25 CH - DC)

Authors: Edwin N. Aroke, PhD, CRNA, Rolland Z. Nkemazeh, MD
Prolongation of the QT interval can predispose patients to fatal arrhythmias such as torsade de pointes. While arrhythmias can occur spontaneously in patients with a genetic predisposition, drugs such as ondansetron and droperidol, which are frequently used in the perioperative period, have been implicated in the prolongation of the QT interval. As the list of medications that cause QT prolongation grows, anesthesia providers and perioperative nurses must be informed regarding the importance of the QT interval. This article reviews the physiology and measurement of the QT interval, the risk factors of QT prolongation, the mechanism of drug-induced QT prolongation, and perioperative considerations for patient care.

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