Effect of Sex and Underlying Disease on the Genetic Association of QT Interval and Sudden Cardiac Death

Rebecca N. Mitchell, Foram N. Ashar, Marjo Riitta Jarvelin, Philippe Froguel, Nona Sotoodehnia, Jennifer A. Brody, Sylvain Sebert, Heikki Huikuri, John Rioux, Philippe Goyette, Charles E. Newcomb, M. Juhani Junttila, Dan E. Arking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) accounts for ≈300 000 deaths annually in the United States. Men have a higher risk of SCD and are more likely to have underlying coronary artery disease, while women are more likely to have arrhythmic events in the setting of inherited or acquired QT prolongation. Moreover, there is evidence of sex differences in the genetics of QT interval duration. Using sex- and coronary artery disease–stratified analyses, we assess differences in genetic association between longer QT interval and SCD risk. Methods and Results: We examined 2282 SCD subjects and 3561 Finnish controls. The SCD subjects were stratified by underlying disease (ischemic versus nonischemic) and by sex. We used logistic regression to test for association between the top QT interval–associated single-nucleotide polymorphism, rs12143842 (in the NOS1AP locus), and SCD risk. We also performed Mendelian randomization to test for causal association of QT interval in the various subgroups. No statistically significant differences were observed between the sexes for associations with rs12143842, despite the odds ratio being higher in females across all subgroup analyses. Consistent with our hypothesis, female ssnon-ischemics had the highest odds ratio point estimate for association between rs12143842 and SCD risk and male ischemics the lowest odds ratio point estimate (P=0.036 for difference). Similar trends were observed for the Mendelian randomization analysis. Conclusions: While individual subgroup comparisons did not achieve traditional criteria for statistical significance, this study is consistent with the hypothesis that the causal association of longer QT interval on SCD risk is stronger in women and nonischemic individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere013751
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 3 2019


  • Mendelian randomization
  • QT interval electrocardiography
  • genetic association
  • sex-specific
  • sudden cardiac death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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