The Heart of Rett Syndrome: A Quantitative Analysis of Cardiac Repolarization

Michael P. Collins, Mark C. Johnson, Robin C. Ryther, Judith L. Weisenberg, Peter T. Heydemann, Colleen M. Buhrfiend, William A. Scott, Dallas M.M. Armstrong, Haley M. Kern, Hoang H. Nguyen


Background: Rett syndrome (RTT) is a developmental encephalopathy disorder that is associated with a high incidence of sudden death presumably from cardiorespiratory etiologies. Electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities, such as prolonged heart-rate corrected QT (QTc) interval, are markers of cardiac repolarization and are associated with potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias. This study investigates the cardiac repolarization characteristics of RTT patients, including QTc and T-wave morphology characteristics.

Methods: A retrospective quantitative analysis on 110 RTT patients and 124 age and sex-matched healthy controls was conducted.

Results: RTT patients had longer QTc, more abnormal T-wave morphology, and greater heterogeneity of cardiac repolarization parameters compared to controls. Even RTT patients without prolonged QTc had more abnormal ECG and T-wave characteristics than controls. Among RTT patients, MECP2 patients had prolonged QTc compared to CDKL5 and FOXG1 patients. A subset of five RTT patients who died had normal QTc, but more abnormal T-wave morphology than the remaining RTT patients.

Conclusions: Cardiac repolarization abnormalities are present in RTT patients, even without long QTc. T-wave morphology is related to RTT genotype and may be predictive of mortality. These findings could be used to help the management and monitoring of RTT patients.

Cardiol Res. 2023;14(6):446-452


Rett syndrome; Long QT; Abnormal T wave; T-wave analysis; Electrocardiogram; Cardiac repolarization; Ventricular repolarization

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Cardiology Research, bimonthly, ISSN 1923-2829 (print), 1923-2837 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
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