What Does A Short QT Interval Mean?

What Does A Short QT Interval Mean?

Short QT interval syndrome refers to a rare and a genetic type of abnormal rhythm of one’s heart. We know that the heart is responsible to produce electrical activity based on the flow of various ions, such as electrically charged particles consisting of calcium, sodium, potassium and chloride from within and out of the heart’s cells. Tiny channels of ions are responsible to control the flow.

QT interval in this case refers to the section present on one’s ECG i.e. Electrocardiogram representing the time required for the respective electrical system in firing an impulse via the heart’s lower chambers, also known as ventricles and later on, recharge it. In other words, you may translate it as the time required for the contraction of your heart’s muscles and later on, its recovery.

However, if you are suffering from short QT Interval, your heart will take relatively more time in recovery even though it contracts or beats at the normal rate. Reason for this is that QT interval in this case becomes relatively shorter. Another key difference in short QT interval syndrome patients is that QT interval remains unchanged because of the change in the exact heartbeat speed. In case of healthy people, QT interval becomes long whenever heat beats becomes slow and vice versa.

Causes of Short QT Interval

Short QT interval refers to a congenital defect, because of which it prevails from the birth of an individual. Patients inherit the problem from only mother, only father or both. The defect causes adverse effect on various functions performed by ion channels of the heart also referred as channelopathy.

Symptoms of Short QT Interval

Most of the Short QT Interval patients experience the following common symptoms-

  • Palpitations or heart pounding
  • Syncope or fainting
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Sudden cardiac death

Complications With Short QT Interval

Whenever you experience abnormal electrical activity in your heart, heart muscle recharges and discharges at a fast rate than the normal case. This results in three different types/forms of abnormal cardiac rhythms i.e.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation indicates an abnormal heart rhythm rate starts within the upper chamber of one’s heart, also known as atria. A few individuals dealing with short QT Interval experience atrial fibrillation occasionally, while others experience it as a constant issue.

Ventricular Tachycardia

Ventricular Tachycardia indicates a faster regular rhythm in lower chambers of one’s heart i.e. ventricles.

Ventricular Fibrillation

Ventricular Fibrillation implies a fast and an abnormal heart rhythm rate that causes ventricles to quiver or flutter. This problem even results in sudden cardiac death.


In case short QT interval leads to atrial fibrillation, you may experience many other symptoms, such as dizziness, breathing shortness, feeling of discomfort in the chest and fatigue. A few individuals suffering from short QT Interval or Short QT syndrome/ SQTS do not face any problem or symptom associated with the condition. However, it is essential for you to consult with your doctor to get regular care and thereby, prevent your sudden cardiac arrest or cardiac death.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 14, 2018

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