Now that we have discussed, first, the conventions for representing potentials across the heart by means of vectors and, second, the axes of the leads, it is possible to use these together to determine the instantaneous potential that will be recorded in the electrocardiogram of each lead for a given vector in the heart, as follows.
Figure 12-4 shows a partially depolarized heart; vector A represents the instantaneous mean direction of current flow in the ventricles. In this instance, the direction of the vector is +55 degrees, and the voltage of the potential, represented by the length of vector A, is 2 millivolts. In the diagram below the heart, vector A is shown again, and a line is drawn to represent the axis of lead I in the 0-degree direction. To determine how much of the voltage in vector A will be recorded in lead I, a line perpendicular to the axis of lead I is drawn from the tip of vector A to the lead I axis, and a so-called projected vector (B) is drawn along the lead I axis. The arrow of this projected vector points toward the positive end of the lead I axis, which means that the record momentarily being recorded in the electrocardiogram of lead I is positive. And the instantaneous recorded voltage will be equal to the length of B divided by the length of A times 2 millivolts, or about 1 millivolt.
Figure 12-5 shows another example of vectorial analysis. In this example, vector A represents the electrical potential and its axis at a given instant during ventricular depolarization in a heart in which the left side of the heart depolarizes more rapidly than the right. In this instance, the instantaneous vector has a direction of 100 degrees, and its voltage is again 2 millivolts. To determine the potential actually recorded in lead I, we draw a perpendicular line from the tip of vector A to the lead I axis and find projected vector B. Vector B is very short and this time in the negative direction, indicating that at this particular instant, the recording in lead I will be negative (below the zero line in the electrocardiogram), and the voltage recorded will be slight, about -0.3 millivolts. This figure demonstrates that when the vector in the heart is in a direction almost perpendicular to the axis of the lead, the voltage recorded in the electrocardiogram of this lead is very low. Conversely, when the heart vector has almost exactly the same axis as the lead axis, essentially the entire voltage of the vector will be recorded.
Vectorial Analysis of Potentials in the Three Standard Bipolar Limb Leads. In Figure 12-6, vector A depicts the
Determination of the projected vector B along the axis of lead I when vector A represents the instantaneous potential in the ventricles.
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