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By Harvey V Sparks; Thom W Rooke

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This figure also shows that the voltage between points C and D will decrease to a 28 ELECTRICAL ACTIVITY OF THE HEART new steady state level as the voltage applied to the wires by the battery is decreased. These imaginary experiments illustrate two characteristics of a dipole that determine the voltage measured at distant points in a volume conductor: (1) direction of the dipole relative to the measuring points and (2) magnitude (voltage) of the dipole. Next consider the origin of the cardiac voltage changes that are recorded as the electrocardiogram.

Because the interactions between different actin and myosin strands occur asynchronously, thin filaments are pulled past thick filaments smoothly. EXCITATION-CONTRACTION COUPLING Cardiac muscle fibers contract only when plasma membrane depolarization occurs. Depolarization leads to the initiation of contraction by causing a rise in intracellular Ca2+ .

This happens because the epicardium of the ventricle is positive on the outside (having repolarized first) at a time when the endocardium is still negative. As in depolarization, point A is positive with respect to point B, and an upward deflection occurs on the electrocardiogram. This deflection is the T wave (fig. 2-14). Several unipolar leads are routinely recorded along with the standard ones. The designation "unipolar" means that most of the electrical activity is due to voltage differences on only one side of the lead.

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