Studies have shown that a prolonged P-wave dispersion is a risk factor for the development of atrial fibrillation. The aim of this study was to evaluate P-wave dispersion in adolescents with anorexia nervosa at diagnosis. We evaluated electrocardiographic findings, particularly the P-wave dispersion, at initial assessment in 47 adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Comparison of P-wave dispersion between adolescents with anorexia nervosa and controls showed a statistically significant higher P-wave dispersion in patients with anorexia nervosa (72 +/- 16.3 msec) when compared to the control group (43.8 +/- 9.5 msec). Percent of body weight lost, lower body mass index, and higher weight loss rate in the patients with anorexia nervosa had no effect on P-wave dispersion. Due to the fact that anorexia nervosa has a high mortality rate we believe that cardiac pathologies such as atrial fibrillation must also be considered in the medical evaluation.