We examined the relationship between changes in heart rate and the measured QT interval of the electrocardiogram in healthy subjects after exercise and during breath holding, hyperventilation, the dive reflex, the Valsalva maneuver, and the cold-pressor test. The tachycardia of exercise was accompanied by the familiar shortening of the QT interval, but substantial heart rate changes encountered in other more 'sedentary' maneuvers were accompanied by very small changes in QT. Calculating the corrected QT in the latter instances, therefore, yielded spurious results. The data suggest very little, if any, direct effect of heart rate on the QT interval. The length of the interval in healthy subjects appears to be determined largely by reflexly elicited discrete autonomic influences. Those associated with exercise result in QT shortening but, during neurally mediated cardiovascular adjustments that do not involve exercise, QT is maintained within narrow limits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)