In order to assess the influence of age on atrial electrophysiologic properties, we studied 17 normal subjects, whose ages were homogeneously distributed between 17 and 78 years, measuring in each of them effective (ERP) and functional (FRP) refractory periods at 3 sites of the right atrium (high, middle and low in the lateral wall) at the same driven frequency (120/min). Twice threshold stimuli of 2 msec duration were applied. Dispersion of atrial refractoriness was measured as the longest minus the shortest refractory period. A significant direct correlation was observed between age and dispersion of atrial refractoriness (of ERP: r = 0.75, P <0.001; of FRP: r = 0.82, P <0.001). Moreover, age showed a significant direct correlation with refractoriness at high right atrium (ERP: r = 0.66, P <0.01; FRP: r = 0.76, P <0.001), but did not correlate with that at the other two sites. We suggest that ageing modifies atrial refractoriness in a non-uniform manner inducing a progressive increment of dispersion of atrial refractoriness. The impression is that a slow but continuous process takes place from juvenility to old age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine