• QT interval;
  • QT correction for heart rate;
  • Type I error;
  • repeated-measures models


Because of the recent regulatory emphasis on issues related to drug-induced cardiac repolarization that can potentially lead to sudden death, QT interval analysis has received much attention in the clinical trial literature. The analysis of QT data is complicated by the fact that the QT interval is correlated with heart rate and other prognostic factors. Several attempts have been made in the literature to derive an optimal method for correcting the QT interval for heart rate; however the QT correction formulae obtained are not universal because of substantial variability observed across different patient populations. It is demonstrated in this paper that the widely used fixed QT correction formulae do not provide an adequate fit to QT and RR data and bias estimates of treatment effect. It is also shown that QT correction formulae derived from baseline data in clinical trials are likely to lead to Type I error rate inflation. This paper develops a QT interval analysis framework based on repeated-measures models accomodating the correlation between QT interval and heart rate and the correlation among QT measurements collected over time. The proposed method of QT analysis controls the Type I error rate and is at least as powerful as traditional QT correction methods with respect to detecting drug-related QT interval prolongation. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.