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Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2010 October; 23(4): 432–433.
PMCID: PMC2943460

Tall R waves in leads V1 to V3

A 51-year-old security officer had an electrocardiogram recorded because of a strong family history of coronary arterial disease (Figure (Figure11). His medical history was significant for a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest in the line of duty 25 years earlier.

Figure 1
Electrocardiogram. See text for explication.

The electrocardiogram shows sinus rhythm and prominent R waves in leads V1 to V3 and otherwise is normal. The Table lists many of the causes of tall R waves in the right precordial leads and confirming clues to their diagnoses (1).

Table
Causes and diagnosis of tall R waves in lead V1*

In this patient, the chest radiograph makes the diagnosis (Figure (Figure22). Eventration of the left hemidiaphragm, the result of left phrenic nerve damage from the gunshot, allows upward displacement of the gut that pushes the heart far enough to the right that leads V1 to V3 lie over the left ventricle and record complexes resembling those usually recorded from the left precordial leads. A similar appearance may occur when atelectasis of the right lung causes a rightward displacement of the heart (2).

Figure 2
Anteroposterior chest radiograph showing eventration of the left hemidiaphragm. Much of the gut is at the level of the heart and pushes it toward the right side of the chest.

References

1. Casas RE, Marriott HJ, Glancy DL. Value of leads V7–V9 in diagnosing posterior wall acute myocardial infarction and other causes of tall R waves in V1–V2. Am J Cardiol. 1997;80(4):508–509. [PubMed]
2. Velasquez EM, Glancy DL, Dhurandhar RW. Pulled over: dyspnea and atypical chest pain associated with tall R waves and deep S waves in electrocardiographic leads V1 and V2. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2004;17(4):473–474. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center) are provided here courtesy of Baylor Health Care System