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Am Heart J. 2000 Apr;139(4):684-9.

Signal-averaged P-wave abnormalities and atrial size in patients with and without idiopathic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science, Japan.



The relation between abnormalities in the signal-averaged P wave and atrial size has not been determined in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) without structural heart disease.


Signal-averaged electrocardiograms of P waves were recorded in 38 patients with idiopathic PAF and 34 control subjects. Filtered P-wave duration (FPD) and root-mean-square voltages for the last 20 ms of the vector magnitude were measured. Atrial volume was calculated by cine magnetic resonance imaging.


FPD was longer (131.7 +/- 10.9 ms vs 120.8 +/- 8.6 ms, P <.0001) and root-mean-square voltage was lower (2.89 +/- 1.29 microV vs 3.62 +/- 1.48 microV, P <.05) in the PAF group than in control subjects. However, the various atrial volumes were similar in the 2 groups. In controls, FPD was significantly correlated with left (r = 0.593, P <.0001) and total (r = 0.492, P <.005) atrial volume but not with right atrial volume. In patients with PAF, no significant correlations were found between FPD and any of the atrial volumes. Elderly patients with PAF (age > or =60 years) showed longer FPD than younger patients with PAF (139.2 +/- 9.4 ms vs 125.6 +/- 8.0 ms, P <.0001).


FPD is influenced by the left and total atrial volumes in the normal heart without PAF. Prolonged FPD seems to be a useful predictor of idiopathic PAF among patients without atrial enlargement, especially in the elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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