Author(s): Yan GX, Antzelevitch C
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The J wave is a deflection that appears in the ECG as a late delta wave following the QRS or as a small secondary R wave (R'). Also referred to as an Osborn wave, the J wave has been observed in the ECG of animals and humans for more than four decades, yet the mechanism underlying its manifestation is poorly understood. The present study investigates the cellular basis for the J wave using an isolated arterially perfused preparation consisting of a wedge of canine right or left ventricle. METHODS AND RESULTS: A 12-lead ECG was initially recorded in vivo. After isolation and arterial perfusion of the right or left ventricular wedge, transmembrane action potentials were simultaneously recorded from epicardial, M region, and endocardial transmural sites with three floating microelectrodes. A transmural ECG was recorded concurrently. A J wave was observed at the R-ST junction of the ECG in 17 of 20 adult dogs, usually in leads II, III, aVR, and aVF and the mid to lateral precordial leads. The J wave in the transmural ECG recorded across the wedge was closely associated with the presence of a prominent action potential notch in epicardium but not endocardium. The shape and amplitude of the J wave were found to depend on (1) the transmural distribution of the action potential notch amplitude, (2) the relative time course of the early phases of the action potential (width of notch) at different sites within the wall, (3) sequence of activation, and (4) conduction time across the wall. A highly significant correlation was demonstrated between the amplitude of the epicardial action potential notch and the amplitude of the J wave recorded during interventions that alter the appearance of the electrocardiographic J wave, including hypothermia, premature stimulation, and block of the transient outward current by 4-aminopyridine. Ventricular activation from endocardium to epicardium, with epicardium activated last, was also an important prerequisite for the appearance of the J wave. This sequence permits the establishment of a voltage gradient of the early phases of the action potential after activation (ie, the QRS) is complete. CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide the first direct evidence in support of the hypothesis that heterogeneous distribution of a transient outward current-mediated spike-and-dome morphology of the action potential across the ventricular wall underlies the manifestation of the electrocardiographic J wave. The presence of a prominent action potential notch in epicardium but not endocardium is shown to provide a voltage gradient that manifests as a J (Osborn) wave or elevated J-point in the ECG.
This article was published in Circulation
and referenced in Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases & Diagnosis