The J wave, a deflection that follows the QRS complex of the surface electrocardiogram, is usually partially buried in the R wave in humans, appearing as a J-point elevation. An early repolarization (ER) pattern characterized by J-point elevation, slurring of the terminal part of the QRS, and ST-segment elevation has long been recognized and considered to be totally benign. Recent studies have presented evidence demonstrating that an ER pattern in inferior leads or inferolateral leads is associated with increased risk for life-threatening arrhythmias, named early repolarization syndrome. Early repolarization syndrome and Brugada syndrome share similar electrocardiographic characteristics, clinical outcomes, risk factors, as well as a common arrhythmic platform related to amplification of I(to)-mediated J waves. Although Brugada syndrome and early repolarization syndrome differ with respect to the magnitude and lead location of abnormal J wave manifestation, they can be considered to represent a continuous spectrum of phenotypic expression, termed J-wave syndromes. Early repolarization syndrome has been proposed to be divided into 3 subtypes: type 1, displaying an ER pattern predominantly in the lateral precordial leads, is prevalent among healthy male athletes and rarely seen in ventricular fibrillation survivors; type 2, displaying an ER pattern predominantly in the inferior or inferolateral leads, is associated with a higher level of risk; whereas type 3, displaying an ER pattern globally in the inferior, lateral, and right precordial leads, is associated with the highest level of risk for development of malignant arrhythmias and is often associated with ventricular fibrillation storms.
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