Hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and hypocalcemia can all cause a prolongation of the QT interval. While hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia both delay the repolarization phase (phase 3) of the of the cardiac action potential (creating wide-based T waves, U waves, or a fusion of both), hypocalcemia prolongs the QT interval by way of extending the plateau phase (phase 2) of the cardiac action potential (lengthening the ST segment but with a normal T wave). The presence of a prolonged QT interval places the patient at risk for Torsade de Pointes.



  1. Diercks DB, Shumaik GM, Harrigan RA, Brady WJ, Chan TC. Electrocardiographic manifestations: Electrolyte abnormalities. Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2004;27(2):153-160.
  2. Al-Khatib SM, Stevenson WG, Ackerman MJ, et al. 2017 AHA/ACC/HRS Guideline for Management of Patients With Ventricular Arrhythmias and the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2018;72(14):e91-e220.