Two neonates with arrhythmias and the long QT syndrome are described. The arrhythmias were detected in utero and both infants were apparently well after birth. The first infant, although well, had a bradycardia for the first 9 days of life. A normal heart rate was documented at 10 days but a prolonged QT interval was not appreciated on the ECG. He was discharged from hospital but died suddenly and unexpectedly 3 days later. A post-mortem examination failed to find a cause for his death which therefore fell into the category of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A retrospective analysis of the perinatal electrocardiogram showed a probable junctional rhythm with 2:1 conduction to the ventricle; the QT interval was prolonged at 0.52 seconds (QTC = 0.63). The second infant had a QT interval of 0.52 seconds (QTC = 0.54) and frequent ventricular premature beats on a 24-hour electrocardiogram. She was treated with propranolol and remains well 2 years later. Sudden infant death has often been described in the siblings of children with the long QT syndrome and one other report described a case of SIDS which was said to have had a prolonged QT interval on the perinatal ECG. This report, however, provides unquestionable evidence, in one case, of an association between the long QT syndrome and SIDS.
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