Use of oral contraceptives in women with congenital long QT syndrome

Ilan Goldenberg, Arwa Younis, David T. Huang, Ayhan Yoruk, Spencer Z. Rosero, Kris Cutter, Valentina Kutyifa, Scott McNitt, Nona Sotoodehnia, Peter J. Kudenchuk, Thomas D. Rea, Dan E. Arking, Bronislava Polonski, Wojciech Zareba, Mehmet K. Aktas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Use of oral contraceptives (OCs) may modulate the clinical course of women with congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS). The safety of OC use by sex hormone content has not been assessed in women with LQTS. Objective: We aimed to evaluate the association of OCs with the risk of cardiac events (CEs) in women with LQTS. Methods: Beginning in 2010, information on menarche onset, OC use, pregnancy, and menopause were obtained from women enrolled in the Rochester LQTS Registry. Type of OC was categorized as progestin-only, estrogen-only, or combined (estrogen/progestin). Andersen-Gill multivariate modeling was used to evaluate the association of time-dependent OC use with the burden of CE (total number of syncope, aborted cardiac arrest, and LQTS-related sudden cardiac death) from menarche onset through 40 years. Findings were adjusted for genotype, corrected QT duration, and time-dependent β-blocker therapy. Results: A total of 1659 women with LQTS followed through March 2021, of whom 370 (22%) were treated with an OC. During a cumulative follow-up of 35,797 years, there were a total of 2027 CE. Multivariate analysis showed that progestin-only OC was associated with a pronounced 2.8-fold (P =.01) increased risk of CEs in women who did not receive β-blocker therapy, while β-blockers were highly protective during progestin-only OC treatment (hazard ratio 0.22; P =.01; P =.006 for β-blocker-by-OC interaction). The risk associated with OC use without concomitant β-blocker treatment was pronounced in women with LQTS type 2. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that progestin-only OC should not be administered in women with LQTS without concomitant β-blocker therapy. OCs should be used with caution in women with LQTS type 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Long QT syndrome
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Syncope
  • Women
  • β-Blockers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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