Background: Paroxysmal atrial tachyarrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation is a fatal complication that occur more frequently in patients with β-thalassemia major (β-TM) than normal population. This study aimed to compare P-wave dispersion (PWD) in patients with β-thalassemia major with control subjects for the early prediction of arrhythmia risk. Methods: Sixty-six adult patients with β-TM referring to Shahid Motahari hospital of Marvdasht in winter 2015 were compared to 50 non-thalassemic adults. All participants underwent routine 12-leads electrocardiography (ECG) for cardiac evaluation. ECGs were scanned and PWD was calculated as the difference between the maximum and the minimum P-wave duration. Results: Patients with β-TM aged between 18 to 47 years old and were matched by age and gender to the control group. There was a statistically significant difference between the study and control groups in minimum P-wave duration (44.8±9.8 vs 49.1±5.3 ms, p=0.006), maximum P-wave duration (105.3±12.5 vs 97.6±6.4 ms, p<0.001) and PWD (60.5±11.00 vs 48.6±7.8 ms, p<0.001). Conclusion: PWD increased in β-TM patients, thus, these patients should be closely followed up for risk of atrial fibrillation which can be life threatening.
Key words: Electrocardiography, PWD, beta-Thalassemia, Atrial Fibrillation, Iron Overload.