Antipsychotics and Electrocardiographic Monitoring in Patients with Schizophrenia
Pamela Mei Yuan Ng, Suet Bin Chai, Ker-Chiah Wei
Objectives: Patients with schizophrenia are more likely to die prematurely than the general population. They have a higher risk of cardiovascular related morbidity and mortality. Antipsychotic medications are also known to be associated with the prolongation of the rate-corrected QT (QTc) interval, which is linked to dangerous arrhythmias. The primary objective of our study is to investigate the practice of electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring for patients with schizophrenia who were hospitalised. The secondary objective is to evaluate the prevalence of QTc prolongation in this group of patients. Methods: We included patients with schizophrenia who were discharged from the acute general adult psychiatric wards of the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore from 1 July 2014 to 21 July 2014. A retrospective analysis of the medical records was carried out to assess if they had received ECG during their hospitalisation. We also analysed their risk of developing QTc prolongation. Results: We had a sample size of 107 patients. There were 31 patients (29·0%) who received ECG during their hospitalisation. Of the 95 patients who had moderate-to-high risk of developing QTc prolongation, 29 of them received ECG. Of the 31 patients who received ECG, 10 of them (32·3%) had QTc prolongation. Conclusion: The ECG monitoring in the study patients was inadequate, and as a result, we were unable to evaluate the prevalence of prolonged QTc interval with confidence. We recommend performing baseline ECGs for these patients and conducting ECG teachings for clinicians who work in the psychiatric service settings.