Resistance to ventricular fibrillation predicted by the QRS/QTc - ratio in an intact rat model of hypothermia/rewarming
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Accidental hypothermia is associated with increased risk for arrhythmias. QRS/QTc is proposed as an ECG-marker, where decreasing values predict hypothermia-induced ventricular arrhythmias. If reliable it should also predict nonappearance of arrhythmias, observed in species like rat that regularly tolerate prolonged hypothermia. A rat model designed for studying cardiovascular function during cooling, hypothermia and subsequent rewarming was chosen due to species-dependent resistance to ventricular arrhythmias. ECG was recorded throughout the protocol. No ventricular arrhythmias occurred during experiments. QRS/QTc increased throughout the cooling period and remained above normothermic baseline until rewarmed. Different from the high incidence of hypothermia-induced ventricular arrhythmias in accidental hypothermia patients, where QRS/QTc ratio is decreased in moderate hypothermia; hypothermia and rewarming of rats is not associated with increased risk for ventricular fibrillation. This resistance to lethal hypothermia-induced arrhythmias was predicted by QRS/QTc.