Military jet pilots have higher p-wave dispersions compared to the transport aircraft aircrew
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Eskisehir Military Hospital, Eskisehir, Turkey (Department of Internal Medicine)
Gulhane Medical Academy, Eskisehir, Turkey (Department of Aerospace Medicine)
Eskisehir Military Hospital, Eskisehir, Turkey (Department of Cardiology)
Gulhane Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey (Department of Cardiology)
Mustafa Çakar   

Eskisehir Military Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, 59 Atatürk Street, 26010, Eskisehir, Turkey
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2016;29(4):563–572
Objectives: For the purpose of flight safety military aircrew must be healthy. P-wave dispersion (PWD) is the p-wave length difference in an electrocardiographic (ECG) examination and represents the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. In the study we aimed at investigating PWD in healthy military aircrew who reported for periodical examinations. Material and Methods: Seventy-five asymptomatic military aircrew were enrolled in the study. All the subjects underwent physical, radiologic and biochemical examinations, and a 12-lead electrocardiography. P-wave dispersions were calculated. Results: The mean age of the study participants was 36.15±8.97 years and the mean p-wave duration was 100.8±12 ms in the whole group. Forty-seven subjects were non-pilot aircrew, and 28 were pilots. Thirteen study subjects were serving in jets, 49 in helicopters, and 13 were transport aircraft pilots. Thirty-six of the helicopter and 11 of the transport aircraft aircrew were non-pilot aircrew. P-wave dispersion was the lowest in the transport aircraft aircrew, and the highest in jet pilots. P-wave dispersions were similar in the pilots and non-pilot aircrew. Twenty-three study subjects were overweight, 19 had thyroiditis, 26 had hepatosteatosis, 4 had hyperbilirubinemia, 2 had hypertension, and 5 had hyperlipidemia. The PWD was significantly associated with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Serum uric acid levels were associated with p-wave durations. Serum TSH levels were the most important predictor of PWD. Conclusions: When TSH levels were associated with PWD, uric acid levels were associated with p-wave duration in the military aircrew. The jet pilots had higher PWDs. These findings reveal that military jet pilots may have a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, and PWD should be recorded during periodical examinations.