Diq

QRS and T vectorcardiograms.

Figure 12-11

QRS and T vectorcardiograms.

changes in the average direction of the electrical potential from the heart. The so-called vectorcardiogram depicts these changes at different times during the cardiac cycle, as shown in Figure 12-10.

In the large vectorcardiogram of Figure 12-10, point 5 is the zero reference point, and this point is the negative end of all the successive vectors. While the heart muscle is polarized between heartbeats, the positive end of the vector remains at the zero point because there is no vectorial electrical potential. However, as soon as current begins to flow through the ventricles at the beginning of ventricular depolarization, the positive end of the vector leaves the zero reference point.

When the septum first becomes depolarized, the vector extends downward toward the apex of the ventricles, but it is relatively weak, thus generating the first portion of the ventricular vectorcardiogram, as shown by the positive end of vector 1. As more of the ventricular muscle becomes depolarized, the vector becomes stronger and stronger, usually swinging slightly to one side. Thus, vector 2 of Figure 12-10 represents the state of depolarization of the ventricles about 0.02 second after vector 1. After another 0.02 second, vector 3 represents the potential, and vector 4 occurs in another 0.01 second. Finally, the ventricles become totally depolarized, and the vector becomes zero once again, as shown at point 5.

The elliptical figure generated by the positive ends of the vectors is called the QRS vectorcardiogram. Vectorcardiograms can be recorded on an oscilloscope by connecting body surface electrodes from the neck and lower abdomen to the vertical plates of the oscilloscope and connecting chest surface electrodes from each side of the heart to the horizontal plates. When the vector changes, the spot of light on the oscilloscope follows the course of the positive end of the changing vector, thus inscribing the vectorcardiogram on the oscilloscopic screen.

Figure 12-11

Plotting the mean electrical axis of the ventricles from two electrocardiographic leads (leads I and III).

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