ST elevation

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Schematic representation of normal ECG, with ST segment in purple. J-point is the point where red and purple segments overlap
12-lead electrocardiogram showing ST-segment elevation (orange) in I, aVL and V1-V5 with reciprocal changes (blue) in the inferior leads, indicative of an anterior wall myocardial infarction.
An example of mildly elevated ST segments in V1 to V3 that are concave down

ST elevations refers to a finding on an electrocardiogram wherein the trace in the ST segment is abnormally high above the baseline.


An ST elevation is considered significant if the vertical distance inside the ECG trace and the baseline at a point 0.04 seconds after the J-point is at least 0.1 mV (usually representing 1 mm or 1 small square) in a limb lead or 0.2 mV (2 mm or 2 small squares) in a precordial lead.[1] The baseline is either the PR interval or the TP interval.[2] This measure has a false positive rate of 15-20% (which is slightly higher in women than men) and a false negative rate of 20-30%.[3]


The ST segment corresponds to a period of ventricular contraction. Because of the complete depolarization of the ventricles, represented by the QRS complex, in theory there is no net movement of charge during the ST segment. Under physiological conditions the ST segment is isoelectric (i.e. same charge across the myocardium).

Transmural ischemia[edit]

During transmural ischemia, the cells across endocardium to epicardium is damaged. ST segment elevation occurs because when the ventricle is at rest and therefore repolarized, the depolarized ischemic region generates electrical currents that are traveling away from the recording electrode; therefore, the baseline voltage prior to the QRS complex is depressed (red line before R wave). When the ventricle becomes depolarized, all the muscle is depolarized during the ST segment so that zero voltage is recorded by the electrode (red line after R wave). When the ventricle is completely repolarized after the T wave, the baseline is once again negative as in the resting state. Therefore, the net effect of the depressed baseline voltage is that the ST segment appears to be elevated relative to the baseline. Also see ST depression.

Benign conditions[edit]

Repolarization of the ventricle normally occurs during the T wave, however one cause of ST segment elevation is the early repolarization of the heart wall. This is referred to as benign early repolarization.

Associated conditions[edit]

The exact topology and distribution of the affected areas depend on the underlying condition. Thus, ST elevation may be present on all or some leads of ECG.

It can be associated with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Family Practice Notebook > ST Elevation Retrieved Nov 2010
  2. ^ Khandpur, R.S. (2003). Handbook of biomedical instrumentation (2nd ed.). New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-07-047355-3.
  3. ^ Sabatine MS (2000). Pocket Medicine (이소연). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-1649-7.[page needed]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Thaler, Malcolm (2009). The only EKG book you'll ever need. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-1-60547-140-2.[page needed]
  5. ^ Tingle LE, Molina D, Calvert CW (November 2007). "Acute pericarditis". American Family Physician. 76 (10): 1509–14. PMID 18052017.
  6. ^ Chew HC, Lim SH (November 2005). "Electrocardiographical case. ST elevation: is this an infarct? Pericarditis" (PDF). Singapore Medical Journal. 46 (11): 656–60. PMID 16228101.
  7. ^ Victor F. Froelicher; Jonathan Myers (2006). Exercise and the heart. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-1-4160-0311-3. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  8. ^ Plautz CU, Perron AD, Brady WJ (July 2005). "Electrocardiographic ST-segment elevation in the trauma patient: acute myocardial infarction vs myocardial contusion". The American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 23 (4): 510–6. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2004.03.014. PMID 16032622.