Classification and Reporting of Potentially Proarrhythmic Common Genetic Variation in Long QT Syndrome Genetic Testing

John R. Giudicessi, Dan M. Roden, Arthur A.M. Wilde, Michael J. Ackerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The acquired and congenital forms of long QT syndrome represent 2 distinct but clinically and genetically intertwined disorders of cardiac repolarization characterized by the shared final common pathway of QT interval prolongation and risk of potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. Over the past 2 decades, our understanding of the spectrum of genetic variation that (1) perturbs the function of cardiac ion channel macromolecular complexes and intracellular calcium-handling proteins, (2) underlies acquired/congenital long QT syndrome susceptibility, and (3) serves as a determinant of QT interval duration in the general population has grown exponentially. In turn, these molecular insights led to the development and increased utilization of clinically impactful genetic testing for congenital long QT syndrome. However, the widespread adoption and potential misinterpretation of the 2015 American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics variant classification and reporting guidelines may have contributed unintentionally to the reduced reporting of common genetic variants, with compelling epidemiological and functional evidence to support a potentially proarrhythmic role in patients with congenital and acquired long QT syndrome. As a result, some genetic testing reports may fail to convey the full extent of a patient's genetic susceptibility for a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia to the ordering healthcare professional. In this white paper, we examine the current classification and reporting (or lack thereof) of potentially proarrhythmic common genetic variants and investigate potential mechanisms to facilitate the reporting of these genetic variants without increasing the risk of diagnostic miscues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-630
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 6 2018


  • arrhythmia
  • genetic testing
  • genetic variation
  • long QT syndrome
  • sudden cardiac death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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