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Dr A Röschl's picture


Here is a Pacemaker ECG with no signs of PM malfunction: Beat A is an intrinsic beat (atrial fibrillation). Beat B is a pseudofusion beat. Beat C is a fully paced beat. Beat D is a fusion beat. Ventricular fusion is the electrical summation of an intrinsic beat of the heart and depolarization from a pacing stimulus. The morphology lies between a fully paced beat and a complete intrinsic beat.

Dr A Röschl's picture

VT or SVT? Here, Both!

Complex ECGs like this one have to be approached systematically. Firstly, we can see a normal sinus rhythm. A is the first beat of a wide complex tachycardia. This must be a ventricular tachycardia. Although there is a P-wave before the first beat of the tachycardia, it is not premature. Therefore, there is no SVT with aberrant conduction. The first beat of the tachycardia looks different from the subsequent beats because there is a fusion beat present. The VT conducts 1:1 back to the atria (a small negative P-wave can be seen at the end of the QRS complex in V1).

Dr A Röschl's picture

Ventricular Tachycardia After Inferior Myocardial Infarction

76-year-old man, with a history of inferior wall myocardial infarction. He experiences recurrent episodes of brief palpitations, often lasting only 5-15 seconds. In this ECG, at the beginning, the last part of a wide-complex tachycardia is visible. After 2 sinus beats, another wide-complex tachycardia begins (with the same QRS configuration).

Dawn's picture

ECG Basics: Atrial Flutter With 2:1 Conduction And An Aberrantly-conducted Beat

This strip was taken from a patient at rest.  It shows a regular tachycardia with a slightly-widened QRS complex at about .10 seconds duration.  It is somewhat difficult to evaluate the baseline for P waves or flutter waves.  We ALWAYS recommend multi-lead assessment for such evaluation.  The P waves (or flutter waves) here have a sharp point, and can be easily "marched out", with a rate of about 300 per minute.

Whenever the ventricular rate is near 150/min., we should always consider the possibility of atrial flutter with 2:1 conduction.  Since atrial flutter results in atrial depolarization at around 250 - 350 per minute, conducting every other P wave results in a rate of about 150.  It can masquerade as sinus tach, but a patient with sinus tach at such a fast rate would probably have an obvious cause for a rapid heart rate, such as hypovolemia, drug overdose, or exertion.  This rhythm could also be mistaken for atrial tachycardia or other forms of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT, PSVT, AVNRT, etc.).   Multiple leads can more easily uncover the flutter waves running continuously "behind" and "through" the QRS complexes.

There is one beat that is obviously different from the others.  This beat is about the same width as the other QRS complexes, but is opposite in direction.  This probably represents aberrant conduction, possibly a hemiblock that occurs only in this beat.  Careful measurement will show that this QRS is very slightly early, while the others are all very regular. The slight width of all the QRS complexes suggests that there is a conduction delay, which cannot be diagnosed on one strip with no patient history available.

There are other differential diagnoses, such as ventricular tachycardia with a captured sinus beat.  We welcome discussion of this interesting strip. 

Dawn's picture

Left Bundle Branch Block With Left Atrial Enlargement

This ECG, kindly donated by Dr. Ahmed from India, is from a 70-year-old man shows a sinus rhythm at 80 bpm with left bundle branch block (LBBB), left atrial enlargement (LAE), and a premature ventricular contraction (PVC). The ECG criteria for LBBB is:  1) Wide QRS  - greater than or equal to .12 seconds;  2) Supraventricular rhythm;  3) QRS that is negative in V1 and positive in Leads I and V6. In leads with a positive QRS, we will see some ST depression, and in leads with a negative QRS, some ST elevation.  This is "normal" for the wide QRS rhythm, and does not indicate injury or ischemia, although it does not rule it out, either.  LBBB is an indicator of cardiac disease, but not specific to one etiology.

There is a PVC seen as the 8th beat from the left, and it gives you a chance to show your students a wide-complex beat that is NOT associated with a P wave and is premature, compared to the wide-complex SINUS beats with LBBB.  The PVC, being wide-complex, also has similar ST changes:  the ST segments and T waves are DISCORDANT with the QRS complexes.

The P waves show some signs of enlargement of the left atrium.  The P waves in Lead II are tall and pointed, and the P waves in V1 are biphasic.  Left atrial enlargement in a patient with LBBB would not be surprising, as both are associated with left ventricular dysfunction.  Patients with these ECG patterns should be thoroughly evaluated for congestive heart failure.  Patients with LBBB, low ejection fractions, and heart failure are treated with cardiac resynchronization therapy, using a pacemaker that paces the atria and each ventricle, synchronizing both the A-V coupling interval and the depolarization of the ventricles for optimum cardiac output.

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