Official reprint from UpToDate®
www.uptodate.com ©2016 UpToDate®

Differential diagnosis of basic electrocardiographic abnormalities

Ary L Goldberger, MD
Section Editor
David M Mirvis, MD
Deputy Editor
Gordon M Saperia, MD, FACC


The electrocardiographic diagnosis of a variety of cardiac diseases, such as ischemia or infarction, pericarditis, and conduction disturbances, is based upon certain characteristic findings. However, none of these findings alone is usually pathognomonic for a particular disease.

This topic presents a series of tables that list the major causes of a number of common findings and abnormalities [1-4]. Their differential diagnosis is discussed in detail in the appropriate topic reviews.

Q waves (table 1)

ST segment elevations (table 2)

Low QRS voltage (table 3)

Subscribers log in here

To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information or to purchase a personal subscription, click below on the option that best describes you:
Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jul 21, 2014.
The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2016 UpToDate, Inc.
  1. Goldberger AL, Goldberger ZD, Shvilkin A. Goldberger’s Clinical Electrocardiography: A Simplified Approach, 8th ed, Elsevier/Saunders, Philadelphia 2012.
  2. Goldberger AL. Myocardial infarction: Electrocardiographic differential diagnosis, 4th ed, Mosby Year Book, St Louis 1991.
  3. Mirvis DM, Goldberger AL. Electrocardiography. In: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 10th edition, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P (Eds), W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia 2012.
  4. Surawicz, B, Knilans, TK. Chou's Electrocardiography in Clinical Practice, 6th ed, W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia 2008.