The predictive value of abnormal P-wave axis for the detection of incident atrial fibrillation: A systematic review with meta-analysis

Rahul Kumar Chattopadhyay, Panagiota Chousou, Trisha Mukherjee, Peter Pugh, Vassilios S. Vassiliou

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: There is growing interest in the prediction of incident atrial fibrillation (AF). The 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) has been a particularly rich target for possible prediction strategies.

Purpose: The P-wave axis is an ECG parameter that reflects the dominant vector of atrial depolarisation and is usually 0° -75°. There is a large body of literature suggesting that AF reflects structural and conduction abnormalities of the atria, and thus the P-wave axis may represent a sensitive parameter to detect such changes.

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of published literature associating abnormal P-wave axis and the development of incident AF was performed. Electronic databases were systematically searched from inception to October 2021. A random-effects model with generic inverse variance weights was utilised to pool the most adjusted effect measure from each paper. A funnel plot was used to assess publication bias.

Results: After excluding duplicate studies, 568 studies were screened. A total of eleven studies were identified that associated an abnormal P-wave axis with the subsequent detection of AF. The eight studies that considered abnormal P-wave axis as being <0° or >75° were pooled for meta-analysis. In the pooled studies a total of 78,222 patients were included with 5656 cases of incident atrial fibrillation identified. The meta-analysis of the studies suggested that an abnormal P-wave axis was associated with a pooled risk ratio of 2.12 (95% CI 1.49 to 3.01) for the detection of incident atrial fibrillation.

Conclusion: This comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis, indicates the positive association of abnormal P wave axis and future detection of AF. Utilisation of abnormal P-wave axis, alongside other parameters, may allow clinicians to better risk-stratify individuals at increased risk of AF, and thus identify those who may benefit most from prolonged cardiac monitoring or targeted anticoagulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0278527
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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