Prevalence of primary T-wave changes in young men and their relationship to psychological and anthropometric data

Clin Cardiol. 1981 Mar;4(2):91-7. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960040206.


The T wave in leads II, V4, and V6 in the electrocardiograms of 1,401 consecutively entering 18-year-old male conscripts at a military processing center in 1975 were classified, and the relationship between the frequency of the T-wave changes relative to the psychosocial and medical data of the subjects was examined. One percent of the conscripts had a negative T in one or more of these leads, and twelve percent showed some deviation from the "normal T," usually a T wave of less than ten percent of the R-wave amplitude. A common finding was the presence of a "notch" in the T wave of lad V4 (a negative deflection in the middle of a positive T wave). Those with T-wave changes showed the same incidence of signs and history of heart disease as those with a normal T. However, those with an abnormal T showed higher heart rate and systolic blood pressure at rest. Further, they had more nervous symptoms and a higher consumption of alcohol and tranquilizers. These findings were as common in the larger group of flat T waves as in the smaller group with T-wave changes of the type normally attributed to organic heart disease (i.e., having notched, or more or less inverted T waves without ST depression). The maximal work capacity and vital capacity were slightly lower in subjects with abnormal T waves. However, this was fully explained by lesser height. It is suggested that in the majority of these cases, T-wave changes in young adults are due to increased sympathetic tone rather than to organic heart disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Anthropometry
  • Blood Pressure
  • Electrocardiography / instrumentation
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Heart Diseases / psychology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Sweden
  • Tranquilizing Agents


  • Tranquilizing Agents