Noninvasive electrophysiological differences between women and men: differences in body size not an explanation

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2022 Nov 1;323(5):H996-H1003. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00454.2022. Epub 2022 Oct 7.

Abstract

There are numerous sex-related differences in cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmia propensity but very little knowledge about the reasons. Difference in body size has been proposed as one reason and was tested in this study of >20 cardiac electrophysiology parameters in 319 (158 women) apparently healthy 50- to 64-yr-old subjects from a randomly enrolled population sample, the pilot SCAPIS (Swedish Cardiopulmonary Bioimaging Study), using Frank vectorcardiography. We studied conventional conduction intervals, parameters reflecting electrical heterogeneity (dispersion) in the ventricles, QRS- and T-vector directions, spatial QRS-T angles, and T-vector loop morphology. Body surface area (BSA; 2 methods) and lean body mass (LBM), both estimated from body weight and height, were used as body size parameters. According to multivariable linear regression analysis adjusted for sex, there was no association between electrophysiological parameters and body size apart from QRS duration and QRSarea. In conclusion, most electrophysiological parameters assessed completely noninvasively and showing statistically significant differences between women and men on the group level show no association with BSA or LBM. Scaling (indexing) the electrophysiological parameters for body size parameters is therefore not an option. Consequently, the explanation for the sex-related electrophysiological differences should be sought along other lines.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We sought explanations for sex-related differences in >20 cardiac electrophysiology parameters including conventional conduction intervals in 319 (158 women) apparently healthy 50- to 64-yr-old subjects using Frank vectorcardiography, a novelty. Our hypothesis that body size was partly explanatory for such differences had to be refuted apart from QRS duration and QRSarea. Scaling (indexing) electrophysiological parameters for body size is therefore not an option and explanations for electrophysiological sex-related differences are to be sought elsewhere.

Keywords: body size; electrophysiology; scaling; sex differences; vectorcardiography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • Body Size
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Heart* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vectorcardiography* / methods