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Current of injury

As the heart then proceeds through its normal process of depolarization, the septum first becomes depolarized; then the depolarization spreads down to the apex and back toward the bases of the ventricles. The last portion of the ventricles to become totally depolarized is the base of the right ventricle, because the base of the left ventricle is already totally and permanently depolarized. By vectorial analysis, the successive stages of electrocardiogram generation by the depolarization wave traveling through the ventricles can be constructed graphically, as demonstrated in the lower part of Figure 12-17.

When the heart becomes totally depolarized, at the end of the depolarization process (as noted by the next-to-last stage in Figure 12-17), all the ventricular muscle is in a negative state. Therefore, at this instant in the electrocardiogram, no current flows from the ventricles to the electrocardiographic electrodes because now both the injured heart muscle and the contracting muscle are depolarized.

Next, as repolarization takes place, all of the heart finally repolarizes, except the area of permanent depolarization in the injured base of the left ventricle. Thus, repolarization causes a return of the current of injury in each lead, as noted at the far right in Figure 12-17.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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