What is the significance of a finding of electrical alternans in the evaluation of cardiac tamponade?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: Chakri Yarlagadda, MD, FACC, FSCAI, FASNC, CCDS; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

Alternation of QRS complexes, usually in a 2:1 ratio, on electrocardiographic findings is called electrical alternans. It is caused by movement of the heart in the pericardial space. Electrical alternans is also observed in patients with myocardial ischemia, acute pulmonary embolism, and tachyarrhythmias.


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