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The effect of sevoflurane on the transmural dispersion of repolarisation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a prospective observational study

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia


The ‘torsadogenic’ property of a drug is linked to its ability to increase the transmural dispersion of repolarisation, represented by the interval between the peak of, and the end of, the T-wave (Tp-e interval) in an electrocardiogram. Reports have consistently shown that sevoflurane does not increase the Tp-e interval. Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for increased QTc (rate-corrected QT interval), QTcd (rate-corrected QTc dispersion: difference between the maximum and the minimum QTc interval), and Tp-e, as well as the rate-corrected Tp-e (Tp-e/QTc ratio). The study aimed to ascertain whether sevoflurane increased the Tp-e interval and Tp-e/QTc ratio in patients with diabetes, thereby increasing their risk of torsades. We enrolled 35 female patients; 17 with type 2 diabetes and 18 controls undergoing non-laparoscopic surgery under sevoflurane anaesthesia. The Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QTc ratio, QTc and QTcd were recorded after intubation, 5, 10, 30 and 60 minutes into the anaesthetic, and were compared between the groups. No significant increase in the Tp-e interval or Tp-e/QTc was observed between or within the groups (a 13 ms increase was considered significant). In the control group, the QTc was significantly increased from baseline immediately after intubation (449 versus 414 ms, P <0.001); at 5 minutes (434 versus 414 ms, P=0.01); at 10 minutes (444 versus 414 ms, P=0.002); at 30 minutes (439 versus 414 ms, P=0.001) and at 60 minutes (442 versus 414 ms; P <0.001) (a 20 ms increase was considered significant). No significant increase in QTc was observed in the diabetic group. There were no between or within group differences observed for QTcd. Our findings suggest that sevoflurane does not have a significant predictable pro-arrhythmic effect in type 2 diabetic patients in the absence of other factors affecting ventricular repolarisation.

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