The effects of cigarette smoking on ventricular repolarization in adolescents
ABSTRACT Objective To assess the association between cigarette smoking and ventricular arrhythmias in adolescents. Novel electrocardiographic parameters –Tp-e interval, as well as Tpe/QT and Tpe/QTc ratios – were used to make this assessment. Methods The study population consisted of 87 subjects aged between 16-19 years. Fifty-one adolescent smokers with no risk of arrhythmia comprised the Smoker Group, and 36 adolescents who had never smoked cigarettes comprised the Control Group. Smokers were defined as patients smoking more than three cigarettes per day, for at least 1 year. Body mass index, systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressures were measured, and electrocardiograms were performed on all subjects. Heart rate, PR and Tp-e intervals, and Tpe/QT, Tpe/QTc ratio were digitally measured. Results Adolescents in Smoker Group had smoked cigarettes for 2.9±1.4 years (range 1 to 6 years). The mean age at starting smoking was 13.8±1.4 years. There were no differences between smokers and Control Group as to baseline clinical variables (p>0.05). The PR, QT and QTc intervals were similar in all groups. Tp-e interval (98.4±12.7ms and 78.3±6.9 ms; p<0.001), Tpe/QT (0.28±0.04 and 22±0.03; p<0.01), Tpe/QTc (0.24±0.03 and 0.19±0.01; p<0.001) ratios were significantly higher in Smoker Group. There were no correlations between years of smoking, number of cigarettes per day, Tpe interval, Tpe/QT or Tpe/QTc ratios. Conclusion Cigarette smoking is associated with risk of ventricular arrhytmogenesis with prolonged Tp-e interval and increased Tpe/QT and Tpe/QTc ratios in adolescents.