The J-wave or Osborn wave (after Osborn's work into the mechanisms of this electrocardiographic change in the early 1950s (1)) is a prominent positive deflection in the terminal portion of the QRS complex.
Hypothermia causes asymmetric distortion of the earliest phase of membrane repolarization between the epicardium and endocardium, manifested as J-wave or Osborn wave.
A brief discussion is included about the electrophysiologic mechanisms of Osborn waves, the differential diagnosis of this electrocardiographic finding as well as other findings described in patients with hypothermia.
Key Words: hypothermia, Osborn waves, J waves, sepsis
The initial electrocardiogram revealed prominent Osborn waves as well as other findings characteristic of hypothermia, including sinus bradycardia and prolonged PR, QRS and corrected QT intervals.
Osborn waves usually occur in patients with core temperatures of less than 90[degrees]F (32[degrees]C) and their size generally correlates inversely with the body temperature.
Furthermore, rewarming is associated with proportional improvement of the initial Osborn waves and the conduction abnormalities.