Simple electrocardiographic markers for the prediction of paroxysmal idiopathic atrial fibrillation

Am Heart J. 1998 May;135(5 Pt 1):733-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8703(98)70030-4.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anisotropy
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / etiology
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / physiopathology