Background: The prolongation of intraatrial and interatrial conduction time and the inhomogeneous propagation of sinus impulses are well known electrophysiologic characteristics in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF).
Methods: To search for possible electrocardiographic markers that could serve as predictors of idiopathic PAF, we measured the maximum P-wave duration (P maximum) and the difference between the maximum and the minimum P-wave duration (P dispersion) from the 12-lead surface electrocardiogram of 60 patients with a history of idiopathic PAF and 40 age-matched healthy control subjects.
Results: P maximum and P dispersion were found to be significantly higher in patients with idiopathic PAF than in control subjects. A P maximum value of 110 msec and a P dispersion value of 40 msec separated patients from control subjects, with a sensitivity of 88% and 83% and a specificity of 75% and 85%, respectively.
Conclusions: P maximum and P dispersion are simple electrocardiographic markers that could be used for the prediction of idiopathic PAF.