Background: ST elevation is commonly seen in young, healthy men. The exact mechanisms that cause ST height to be greater in young men are not yet completely understood. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether autonomic tone is responsible for age and gender differences in ST height. Methods: Gender and age differences in ST height were studied at rest and after double autonomic blockade (DAB) with atropine and propranolol. Fifty healthy men and women were included (16 men, 14 women, age 23-32 years; 9 men, 11 women, age 65-79 years). Twelve-lead ECGs were registered at rest and after DAB. Leads II and V1-V4 were chosen for analysis. ST height (in mm) was measured manually at the J-point, and 40 ms and 80 ms after the J-point. Values were corrected for QRS amplitude. Results: Gender and age differences in ST height were seen in both rest and DAB data. Men had greater ST height compared to women at J-point, 40 and 80 ms after the J-point (P ≤ 0.0001), and younger subjects had greater ST height than older subjects at J-point (P = 0.0140), 40 and 80 ms after the J-point (P ≤ 0.0001). DAB did not change ST height at J-point or at 40 ms, but increased ST height at 80 ms. Women had less of an increase in ST height following DAB than men did. Conclusions: ST elevation in the absence of structural or electrical heart disease is mainly seen in young men. Age and gender difference persist after DAB and thus are not due to differences in autonomic tone.
- Autonomic tone
- Early repolarization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)