BACKGROUND The impact of postural changes on various electrocardiography (ECG) characteristics has only been assessed in a few small studies. This large prospective trial was conducted to confirm or refute preliminary data and add important results with immediate impact on daily clinical practice.
METHODS ECGs in supine and upright position from 1028 patients were analyzed. Evaluation was made according to changes in T-wave vector and direction, ST-segment deviation, heart rate, QT interval and QTc interval was performed. Findings were correlated with the medical history of patients.
RESULTS Positional change from supine to upright resulted in a significantly increased heart rate (8.05 ± 7.71 bpm) and a significantly increased QTc interval after Bazetts (18 ± 23.45 ms) and Fridericas (8.84 ± 17.30) formula. In the upright position significantly more T-waves turned negative (14.7%) than positive (5.7%). ST elevation was recorded in only 0.4% and ST depression in not more than 0.2% of all patients.
CONCLUSIONS The majority of the patients do not show significant morphological changes in their ECG by changing the body position from supine to upright. Changes of QTc time instead, are significant and the interval might be overestimated in upright. Therefore assessment of the QTc interval should strictly be done in a supine position.