QT interval changes following neck dissection a stratified prospective study

Kevin C Dellsperger, Jonas T. Johnson, Christopher H. Rassekh, James A. Hokanson, Bruce A. Bollen, Carl H. Snyderman, Henry T. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Studies from Europe have suggested that neck dissection, especially right radical neck dissection, causes a dangerous prolongation of the QT interval. Sudden cardiac arrest due to QT prolongation has been reported following right radical neck dissection. We investigated the prevalence of QT interval prolongation following neck dissection. Electrocardiogram tracings from 45 patients who underwent different combinations of neck dissection were studied. Preoperative and postoperative tracings were interpreted by a cardiologist blinded to the patient identification of each tracing. There were 28 unilateral neck dissection patients and 17 bilateral neck dissection patients eligible for analysis. There were 7 patients in the classic right radical neck dissection group, and only 3 of these had no neck dissection on the left. Comparisons of preoperative versus postoperative corrected QT interval for all subjects did not indicate a significant change. Stratification by neck dissection type (radical, modified or selective, and carotid artery resection) or by side dissected (left, right, or both) also showed no significant differences. No malignant arrhythmias were encountered. Thus, in contrast to the European experience, our findings show no significant predictable change in the QT interval after any of the combinations of neck dissection. Head and neck surgeons should be aware of the possibility of postoperative QT interval prolongation following neck dissection, although in the absence of other risk factors it appears to be a rare occurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-872
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10 II SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1997


  • Arrhythmia
  • Neck dissection
  • QT interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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