Association between depression, anxiety, and antidepressant use with T-Wave amplitude and QT-interval

Mandy X. Hu*, Femke Lamers, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Eco J.C. de Geus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Cardiac repolarization may be affected by psychiatric disorders and/or antidepressant use, but evidence for this is inconclusive. This study examined the relationship between depressive and anxiety disorder and use of antidepressants with T-wave amplitude (TWA) and QT-interval. Methods: Data was obtained from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (n = 1,383). Depression/anxiety was diagnosed with the DSM-IV based Composite International Diagnostic Interview. The use of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin and noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was established. T-wave amplitude and QT-interval corrected for heart rate (QTc) were obtained from an ECG measured in a type II axis configuration. Results: Compared to controls, persons with depression or anxiety disorders did not show a significantly different TWA (p = 0.58; Cohen's d = 0.046) or QTc (p = 0.48; Cohen's d = -0.057). In spite of known sympathomimetic effects, TCA use (p = 0.26; Cohen's d = -0.162) and SNRI use (p = 0.70; Cohen's d = -0.055) were not significantly associated with a lower TWA. TCA use (p = 0.12; Cohen's d = 0.225) and SNRI use (p = 0.11; Cohen's d = 0.227) were also not significantly associated with a prolonged QTc. Conclusion: We did not find evidence that either depressive/anxiety disorder or antidepressant use is associated with abnormalities in TWA or QTc. Earlier found sympathomimetic effects of TCAs and SNRIs are not evident in these measures of cardiac repolarization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number375
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberJUN
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2018


  • Antidepressant
  • Anxiety
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Cardiac repolarization
  • Depression


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