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Effect of gender on P-wave dispersion in asymptomatic populations

Faulkner, Ashton; Garrett, Andrew


Ashton Faulkner

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Dr Andrew Garrett
Senior Lecturer in Exercise and Environmental Physiology


Background: Exercise testing is a diagnostic tool for evaluating the induction of stress-induced paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). Resting P-wave dispersion has been suggested to be greater in males versus females but if used by clinicians, gender difference in response to exercise must be determined. Methods: Sixteen healthy subjects (n=8 male, age: 21±0.3; n=8 female, age: 23±1.4) performed an incremental exercise test using the Bruce protocol. Electrocardiograms were recorded at rest, end-exercise, 1, 3, and 5 mins recovery. P-waves were measured in each lead with the maximum (P-max) and minimum (P-min) P-wave durations and dispersion calculated. Results: There was a significant decrease in P-max from rest to end-exercise in males and females [males, 118.3±7.4 (95%CI: 109.7 to 126.8ms) vs. 97.9±6.2 (89.3 to 106.4ms); females, 109.4±4.5 (100.8 to 117.9ms) vs. 94.3±4.6 (85.7 to 102.8ms); p=0.001 (5.7 to 29.8ms)]. Similarly, for P-min [males, 65.6±5.6 (57.4 to 73.9ms) vs. 50.8±2.7 (42.5 to 59.0ms); females, 58.4±3.3 (50.1 to 66.6ms) vs. 45.6±2.7 (37.4 to 53.9ms); p=0.01 (2.2 to 25.4ms)]. Irrespective of gender there was limited change in P-wave dispersion in response to exercise. Males had a longer P-max versus females during the protocol [109.6±2.3 (105.8 to 113.4ms) vs. 103.6±1.8 (99.8 to 107.4ms); p=0.03] but this was not stage-specific. There was no gender differences in either P-min (p=0.12) or P-wave dispersion (p=0.64) across the protocol or stage-specific. Conclusions: Results from this study indicate that in contrast to P-max and P-min, the P-wave dispersion may not be significantly influenced by the sympathetic nervous system in males and females. Therefore, this study suggests males and females should be evaluated in the same way using the P-wave dispersion for predicting the development of stress-induced PAF at rest and during exercise testing protocols.


Faulkner, A., & Garrett, A. (2013). Effect of gender on P-wave dispersion in asymptomatic populations. International sportmed journal for FIMS ISMJ, 14(4), 236-244

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2013
Publication Date 2013-12
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 20, 2015
Journal International sportmed journal
Electronic ISSN 1528-3356
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 236-244
Keywords P-wave dispersion, Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, Exercise, Gender
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: International sportmed journal, 2013, v.14, issue 4


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