When the physician is confronted with a patient having significant QT prolongation, it is critical to determine whether the patient harbors a genetic defect and a transmissible form of long QT syndrome (LQTS) or whether the QT prolongation has an acquired cause. The distinction has profound ramifications for the type of care provided to the patient and family. We report the case of a previously healthy 14-year-old boy who presented with a 10-day history of painful swallowing, a 10-lb weight loss, and chest pain. A 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) showed marked QT prolongation. Endoscopy and culture identified a Herpes simplex esophageal ulcer. After treatment with acyclovir, the patient recovered completely. Three weeks after the resolution of his symptoms and recovery from his acute weight loss, a follow-up ECG showed complete normalization of the QT interval. This case illustrates yet another potential mechanism for acquired QT prolongation. We also provide a diagnostic algorithm for the careful evaluation of a prolonged QT interval.
- Long QT syndrome
- QT interval
- Torsades de pointes
- Weight loss
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine