Effects of age, sex, and body habitus on QRS and ST-T potential maps of 1100 normal subjects
Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
Body surface potential maps provide more detailed regional cardiac electrophysiologic information than the standard electrocardiogram. We performed a large-scale study of a normal population to form a comparison base for evaluation of the clinical utility of this technique. We analyzed body surface maps from 1113 normal subjects from 10 to 80 years old to detail map features as a function of age, sex, and body habitus. Maps were analyzed by visual inspection and by a spatial and temporal data reduction technique that allows statistical comparison of map features. On average, both QRS and ST-T potentials decreased with increasing age. Potential pattern distributions remained constant from 10 to 40 years. Beyond age 40, larger numbers of maps from normal subjects showed depolarization patterns consistent with delayed activation of the left anterior fasicle, despite normal 12-lead electrocardiograms. Only minor QRS potential amplitude and distribution differences were noted when male and female subjects were compared within groups of similar age and body habitus. Male subjects consistently showed greater average T potential amplitudes. Slender body habitus was associated with a more horizontal "zero" potential line. In female subjects over age 40 there were more extensive low-level negative potentials recorded over the precordium during the ST segment than in men. This study defines the range of normal body surface potential maps in a large clinically normal population and provides a basis for qualitative and statistical comparison with map features of patients with disease.