How to measure electrocardiographic QT interval in the anaesthetized rabbit

András Farkas, Andrew J. Batey, Susan J. Coker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


Many drugs prolong QT or QU intervals [QT(U)] in the electrocardiogram (ECG), and this may be associated with the generation of drug-induced torsades de pointes. Therefore, it is essential to assess the ability of the newly developed drugs to prolong QT(U) interval. For this purpose, both in vivo and in vitro rabbit models are frequently used. However, it is very difficult to locate the end of the QT(U) interval in most rabbit ECGs when repolarisation is delayed, as the shape of the T and U waves may be deformed. In addition, as the heart rate of the rabbit is very high, the T (or U) wave may overlap the P wave or even the QRS complex of the following sinoatrial beat. In these circumstances, application of the "extrapolation method" makes it possible to determine the length of the QT(U) interval. This article describes the extrapolation method, shows ECG examples of typical T and U waves in the anaesthetized rabbit, and makes an attempt to provide a useful guide for researchers to measure reliably and reproducibly the duration of the QT(U) interval in rabbit studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2004



  • ECG
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Extrapolation method
  • Methods
  • QT interval
  • QT(U) interval
  • QU interval
  • Rabbit
  • Repolarisation delay
  • T wave
  • U wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology

Cite this