We investigate mixed analysis of covariance models for the ‘one-step’ assessment of conditional QT prolongation. Initially, we consider three different covariance structures for the data, where between-treatment covariance of repeated measures is modelled respectively through random effects, random coefficients, and through a combination of random effects and random coefficients. In all three of those models, an unstructured covariance pattern is used to model within-treatment covariance. In a fourth model, proposed earlier in the literature, between-treatment covariance is modelled through random coefficients but the residuals are assumed to be independent identically distributed (i.i.d.). Finally, we consider a mixed model with saturated covariance structure. We investigate the precision and robustness of those models by fitting them to a large group of real data sets from thorough QT studies. Our findings suggest: (i) Point estimates of treatment contrasts from all five models are similar. (ii) The random coefficients model with i.i.d. residuals is not robust; the model potentially leads to both under- and overestimation of standard errors of treatment contrasts and therefore cannot be recommended for the analysis of conditional QT prolongation. (iii) The combined random effects/random coefficients model does not always converge; in the cases where it converges, its precision is generally inferior to the other models considered. (iv) Both the random effects and the random coefficients model are robust. (v) The random effects, the random coefficients, and the saturated model have similar precision and all three models are suitable for the one-step assessment of conditional QT prolongation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.