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Why we look lead V1 to diagnose RVH but look at V4R , to diagnose RV infarction ?

Posted Jul 02 2009 5:04pm

The right ventricle  is a unique  chamber of the heart . It is the anterior most chamber and  triangular in shape.  Even though  the walls of RV are  not  clearly demarcated ,   it does  have  anterior ,  posterior, and lateral free surfaces   . Anatomically it has a inflow  body, apex and outflow portions . The apex of right ventricle , blends with the lower IVS at an acute angle.

How does RVH occur anatomically ?

The anatomy of RV is such that  it does not allow  it  a concentric  RVH ( like LVH ) . In fact , there is a  disproportionate free wall , anterior  wall   hypertrophy  many  situations  like  PHT /Pulmonary stenosis. The  infero posterior aspect of RV rarely show hypertrophy.

Since RV is the anterior most chamber, located just beneath the left border of sternum   RVH brings the RV  further closer to chest wall .This makes the V1 lead to show  tall R in V1.

What happens in RVMI?

Unfortunately, when we  refer to RVMI, we generally do not make any efforts to locate or estimate it’s  size.  Since RV has , anterior , lateral and posterior surface  , the site  and  the  extent of the  mI will have a major impact  on the  ECG  features .

Most often  the RVMIoccur as a  part of infero posterior MI  .Hence ,  it is uncommon for the anterior surface of RV to get involved.  But ,  it can be involved if  RCA gives of a   large RV branch  that reach the anterior surface of RV.

Anterior RVMI can occur as a part  of LAD MI  , if a large conal branch cross the RV surface.

What prevents the lead V1 from showing the  ST elevation of RVMI?

  • Most of the RVMI do not involve the anterior surface of the RVso , less chances for ST elevation
  • Further , if a true posterior wall  MI  occur as a part of  RVMI (Which is often the case !)  V1 can never  show ST elevation  as the  posterior MI  tend to have a ST depressing effect in the V1, V2 leads.
  • Extensive IWMI , can have reciprocal ST depression in V1-V2.This again , prevents V1 lead to show the ST elevation

So many times , even though V1 lead is just sitting over the chamber RV it fails  to  pick  the  ST elevation forces of RVMI

Advantage of V4 R ?

V4R records remote RV forces , as these  signals are not contaminated by the inferio posterior ST forces. Hence  a  1mm ST elevation in right sided chest leads have good sensitivity  and specificity to diagnose RVMI .

When can V1 show ST elevation in RVMI?

If the RV anterior wall is predominantly involved ( Ie Anterior RVMI ) ST elevation can occur in V 1 like a anteroseptal MI.

Rarely a q RBB can occur in V1 in isolated RVMI.

Final message

V1 lead , though anatomically proximal to RV has less value in diagnosing RVMI since this lead picks up  Infero posterior  negative ST forces  and  get  neutralised. So relying on lead V1 to diagnose RVMI is not adviced, except when anterior surface of RV is involved.

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