T Wave Abnormality: What Are Its Causes And How To Treat It

T Wave Abnormality: What Are Its Causes And How To Treat It

T-Wave is the type of wave that you usually see on the electrocardiogram or ECG. The electrocardiogram or ECG is the process of tracking the electrical activity of human heart. The up & down lines that you usually see on ECG actually defines the diverse types of waves, intervals and segments. You will find a variety of waves on the electrocardiogram that denotes re-polarization and depolarization of the muscles of atrium and ventricle. There are several health related issues which you might be confused whether to consult a doctor or not. So, here is all about heart and T wave abnormalities.

Waves in your ECG report

Some of these waves that you will see on an ECG include:

  • QRS Complex
  • P Waves
  • T-Wave

The T-Wave abnormality is considered to be the most common ECG abnormality which usually occurs in 2.5% of all ECGs recorded and over 50 percent of abnormal ECGs recorded. The abnormalities in T-Wave should not be construed without any link with clinical tests or other laboratory tests. Healthy individuals may also develop abnormal T-Wave and hence proper diagnosis is required. The upright and inverted waves on ECG are considered normal T Wave, depending upon the section of ECG or particular electrical leads that are liable for tracing. The abnormal T-Wave can either be taller than the normal T-Wave or inverted, camel hump, biphasic waves ad flattened waves. Patient with heart related disorder may develop T-Wave abnormalities. However, people with other disorders that have no link with heart may also develop such abnormalities in their T-Wave.

Causes of T-Wave Abnormality

Brain Hemorrhage

Brain Hemorrhage or bleeding is the medical condition which can increase the intracranial pressure all of a sudden. As a result, the normal T-Wave will become abnormal and it will look bizarre and inverted in shape on ECG. There are a variety of reasons due to which brain hemorrhage can occur including:

  • Brain tumor
  • Arterial aneurysm
  • Hypertension
  • Head injury
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Consuming too much of alcoholic drinks

Bundle Branch Block

The condition where the patient has blockage or defect on the heart’s conduction system which is responsible for relaying the electrical impulses from origin point to the rest of the heart is referred as bundle branch block. This condition may occur for a variety of reasons including:

  • Surgery done on the heart
  • Heart attack
  • Underlying heart diseases

Myocardial Ischemia and Infarction

T-Wave abnormalities are very common in patients with myocardial Ischemia (Angina) and Infarction (Heart Attack). If the inversion of the T-Wave is new, then it can be pathological and the pathological inverted waves are symmetrical and deep. You may also notice biphasic or flattened T-Wave in ECG of patients with the heart attack of Angina. The typical symptom may include chest pain.

Pulmonary Embolism

The blockage of the primary artery of the lung due to embolus (a substance or clot that travels in the blood) is referred to as pulmonary embolism. The risk fact of pulmonary embolism is the deep vein thrombosis in the legs. This condition causes T-Wave abnormalities, and the symptoms of this condition include:

  • Blood in sputum
  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathless
  • Cough
  • Chest pain   

Hypokalemia & Hyperkalemia

Hypokalemia is a condition where the patients have a decreased level of concentrated potassium in their blood, and this may lead to flattened or abnormal waves. You may also see a T-Wave with a double peak and inverted T-wave on the ECG. This condition may occur in patients that are suffering from diarrhea, excessive sweating, vomiting and due to insufficient dietary intake, intake of specific diuretics, or as a complication of diabetes,

Similarly, Hyperkalemia is the condition where the concentration of potassium in the blood is higher than normal, and this condition can lead to narrow or tall T-Waves. The higher of potassium in the blood is possible when you intake diet excessively, certain medications, breakdown of muscle tissues, impaired functioning of kidneys, burns, and hormonal imbalance.

Ventricular Hypertrophy

The low chambers of the human heart are referred to as ventricles. The thickening of the walls or hypertrophy of these chambers of the heart due to a heart attack or heart failure may lead to T-Wave abnormalities. This condition may occur due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Injury to heart muscles due to heart attack
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Due to certain neurohormones

The symptoms of ventricular hypertrophy include:

  • Sensory awareness of heartbeats or palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness

This condition may also occur due to adaptive response to the exercises, especially the anaerobic exercise, where lifting weights is mandatory.

Other Causes of T-Wave Abnormalities

There are a variety of other factors that are responsible for the abnormality of T-Wave, including:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Smoking

Abnormality of T-Wave can also be seen in healthy people without any heart-related disorder. This may occur in healthy people after taking meals, drinking cold water, and hyperventilation. Nervousness, fear, and anxiety can also bring abnormality in the T-Wave of the person, which may normalize after rest and reassurance. The impaired performance or functioning of adrenals, endocrine glands, thyroid, and pituitary can also cause abnormality in the T-Wave.

Treatment Options For T-Wave Abnormality

T-Wave abnormalities can be the result of some pathological conditions that are primarily related to the heart. Patients that are diagnosed with abnormal T-wave are offered with a variety of treatment to treat the underlying conditions causing abnormalities in T-Wave. If the underlying condition is treated, the T-Wave abnormality vanishes naturally.

For instance, if the T-Wave abnormality is caused due to angina, then it can easily be treated with the help of blood-thinning drugs, anti-cholesterol medicines, and anti-hypertensive medicines. It has been found that myocardial ischemia or angina is caused due to the huge deposit of fats and the build-up of plaque in coronary arteries. So, the medical professionals will prescribe medicines to treat this condition to bring the T-Wave to be normal.

So, if your ECG shows T-wave abnormality or inversion, then don’t panic as treatments are available that can treat the underlying cause to bring the T-Wave to be normal.

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