A short QRS complex is less than 5 mm (0.5 mV) in all limb leads or 10 mm (1 mV) in the chest leads. This low voltage can be caused by extra fluid, air or fat between the heart and the ECG electrodes, or by a loss of normal myocardium due to ischemia or infiltrative disease.
See also: QRS shapes
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- Houghton, AR and Gray, D (2014) - Making Sense of the ECG: A Hands-on Guide, 4th edn, Taylor and Francis
This ECG is from a middle-aged man who presented with chest pain, tachycardia 130 bpm and BP 50/30. He was alert but cool and clammy. His background was unclear, but he mentioned chronic dyspnoea, 'cancer' and 'chest'. Fluids were started. This ECG was recorded the next day, after the arrhythmia recurred and was treated with ibutilide.