A Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Haloperidol and Dexmedetomidine on QTc Interval Prolongation during Delirium Treatment in Intensive Care Units

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0027

Background: Haloperidol and dexmedetomidine are used to treat delirium in the intensive care unit (ICU). The effects of these drugs on the corrected QT (QTc) interval have not been compared before. It was aimed to compare the effects of haloperidol and dexmedetomidine treatment on QTc intervals in patients who developed delirium during ICU follow-up.
Method: The study is single-center, randomized, and prospective. Half of the patients diagnosed with delirium in the ICU were treated with haloperidol and the other half with dexmedetomidine. The QTc interval was measured in the treatment groups before and after drug treatment. The study’s primary endpoints were maximal QT and QTc interval changes after drug administration.
Results: 90 patients were included in the study, the mean age was 75.2±12.9 years, and half were women. The mean time to delirium was 142+173.8 hours, and 53.3% of the patients died during their ICU follow-up. The most common reason for hospitalization in the ICU was sepsis (%37.8.). There was no significant change in QT and QTc interval after dexmedetomidine treatment (QT: 360.5±81.7, 352.0±67.0, p= 0.491; QTc: 409.4±63.1, 409.8±49.7, p=0.974). There was a significant increase in both QT and QTc interval after haloperidol treatment (QT: 363.2±51.1, 384.6±59.2, p=0.028; QTc: 409.4±50.9, 427.3±45.9, p=0.020).
Conclusions: Based on the results obtained from the study, it can be concluded that the administration of haloperidol was associated with a significant increase in QT and QTc interval. In contrast, the administration of dexmedetomidine did not cause a significant change in QT and QTc interval.

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