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Peaked T waves

ECG Basics: Sinus Tachycardia, Peaked T Waves, and Baseline Artifact

Sun, 03/13/2016 - 21:45 -- Dawn

This strip offers several good teaching opportunities.  If it were a 12-lead ECG, no doubt it would be a bonanza!  First, there is sinus tachycardia at a rate of about 138 per minute.  The P waves are all alike and regular.  The T waves are tall and narrow, with a sharp peak.  This is often a transient sign of hyperkalemia, and should be investigated with serum electrolyte tests and with a 12-lead ECG.  In addition, the baseline shows a wandering type of artifact.

Hyperkalemia

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 22:29 -- Dawn

This ECG was obtained from a patient who was suffering from renal failure and had a serum potassium level of 6.8 mEq/L.  It shows some of the earliest ECG signs of hyperkalemia.  There are tall, sharply-peaked T waves in many leads.  There is an irregular, bradycardic rhythm.  We can just barely see P waves, but they will soon flatten out and disappear.  At this level of hyperkalemia, we can expect to see conduction disturbances and bradycardia.  Caution:  hyperkalemia can progress and become life-threatening very quickly.

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