Electrocardiogram (ECG) has been in use for many years to detect cardiac ailments arising from change in electrical potentials around the heart. In this paper we explain the generation of electrical potential as being the result of re-orientation of water molecules, which is also a key factor in homeopathic remedies. In the heart, it is believed that current flows primarily from the base of the heart toward the apex during almost the entire cycle of depolarization, except at the very end. If a meter is connected to electrodes on the surface of the body, the electrode nearer the base will be negative with respect to the electrode nearer the apex, so the meter shows a positive reading between the two electrodes. While recording the difference in potential between the two electrodes placed on the human body, the terminals of the meters are connected to the Ag-AgCl electrode and a saline solution/jelly is applied on the patient for good electrical conductance with Cl– ions in the body.
In making cardiographic recordings, some of the conventional electrode systems, commonly called electrocardiographic leads, are
i) The three Standard Bipolar limb leads consisting of Lead I, Lead II & Lead III: They are the only bipolar leads, i.e the electrocardiogram is recorded from two electrodes located on different sides of the heart, the limbs. Thus a “lead” is not a single wire connecting from the body but a combination of two wires and their electrodes, to make a complete circuit between the body and the electrocardiograph.
ii) Chest leads (Precordial Leads): By using chest leads, the ECG is recorded with one electrode placed on the anterior surface of the chest directly over the heart at one of six specific points. This electrode is connected to the positive terminal of the meter and the negative electrode is normally connected simultaneously through electrical resistance to the right arm, left arm and left leg i.e electrodes placed on the chest are directly connected to the positive terminal of the meter while the RA, LA & LL are connected to the negative terminal of the meter through resistance.
iii) Augmented Unipolar Limb Leads. In this case two of the limbs are connected through electrical resistances to the negative terminal of the meter (electrocardiograph) while the third limb is connected to the positive terminal. When the positive terminal is on the right arm, the left arm and the left leg, the lead is known as the aVR lead, aVL and aVF respectively. They are unipolar.1
Here we shall give special attention to the three standard bipolar limb leads to see the nature of electrical potential generated therein (i.e right arm being always negative & left leg always positive) and the reason for such generation.
The three standard bipolar limb leads that view the heart from different angles consists of :
Lead I: While recording emf (often termed voltage) when the negative terminal of the meter (electrocardiograph) is connected to the right arm and positive terminal to the left arm, recorded emf is found to be positive.
It reflects that the right arm is negative with respect to left arm.
Lead II: While recording emf when the negative terminal of the meter (electrocardiograph) is connected to the right arm and positive terminal to the left leg, recorded emf is found to be positive.
It reflects that the right arm is negative with respect to left leg.
Lead III: While recording emf when the negative terminal of the meter (electrocardiograph) is connected to the left arm and positive terminal to the left leg, recorded emf is found to be positive.
It reflects that the left arm is negative with respect to the left leg.
So it is clear that the right arm is always negative, left leg always positive and left arm being intermediary. Thus the right arm & left leg may be termed as universal negative and positive regions respectively.
Einthoven Triangle: It is stated to be the triangle drawn around the heart with the two arms and left leg forming apices of the triangle. The two apices at the upper part of the triangle represent the points at which the two arms connect electrically with the fluids around the heart, and the lower apex is the point at which the left leg connects with the fluids.
Einthoven’s Law: Einthoven’s Law states that if the electrical potentials of any two of the three bipolar limb electrocardiographic leads are known at any given instant, the third one can be determined mathematically by simply summing the first two (Fig 1), provided the positive and negative signs of the different leads are cautiously taken into account.
Why the heart appears to generate electrical potential and how the Einthoven Triangle can be explained is certainly a subject of interest.
Actually, even distilled water is able to generate emf on immersion of a pair of electrodes (same or different, metal & metal, metal & non-metal etc)2 . Not only that, but even when two or more pairs of electrodes are immersed at the same time, all of the pairs show emf in the varying range, which shows that it is the ability of water to re-orient itself according to the presence of any foreign substance, thereby helping the inert substance to have some potential. The generation of potential by each of the individual electrodes (when three or more electrodes are immersed in water simultaneously) in distilled water, also indicates the presence of zones therein 4. Moreover, the emf of a pair of electrodes in distilled water is also found to increase or decrease on addition of an electrolyte (salt solution) 2 at the negative or positive end respectively, thereby showing that ions only help increase or decrease emf of the said pair.
Experiment 1: Four electrodes Gr, Cu ,Pb and Zn are immersed in distilled water simultaneously . The emf for each pair is recorded, not for any particular instant, and noted in table below;
|Pair||Positive End (+) Negative End (-)||Emf in distilled water (in mV)|
|1st||Graphite (Gr) – Copper (Cu)|
|2nd||Graphite (Gr) – Lead (Pb)|
|3rd||Graphite (Gr) – Zinc (Zn)|
|4th||Copper (Cu) – Lead (Pb)|
|5th||Copper (Cu) – Zinc (Zn)|
|6th||Lead (Pb) – Zinc (Zn)|
Observations & Discussions:
From the above, three possible combinations are :
|Set I||Set II||Set III|
|Electrode Pairs||Emf (in mV))||Electrode Pairs||Emf( in mV)||Electrode Pairs||Emf (in mV)|
|Gr – Cu|
|Cu – Pb|
|Gr – Pb|
|Cu – Zn|
|Pb – Zn|
|Pb – Zn|
|Gr – Zn|
|Cu – Zn|
|Gr – Zn|
|Algebraic Sum(Σ) =|
The algebraic sum of any three pair is not Zero, but approaches Zero as the readings are not recorded for a given instant, i.e; for set I
Gr – Cu + Cu – Zn + Zn– Gr = 180 + 520 – 696= 4 (approaches Zero) .
From the above experiment for set I (Gr, Cu &Zn), it is obvious that Cu is at higher potential ( i.e acts as negative electrode ) than Gr, so electrons flow from Cu to Graphite. But the case is quite surprising when the same electrode Cu behaves as a positive electrode when connected with Zn (i.e Zn at higher potential). Here electrons flow from Zn to Cu. But it is found that the Gr electrode behaves as a positive electrode with both Cu & Zn. Thus for set I it appears that Gr acts as universal positive and Zn as a universal negative electrode. Similarly Pb (Lead) which is at a higher potential than Cu (for set II ) or Gr (for set III ) is at lower potential than Zn. Thus each electrode when immersed in distilled water generates some specific potential that may be lower with reference to one, but higher with reference to another.
This generation of potential by an electrode when immersed in distilled water is the result of re-orientations of water molecules and formation of zones thereof4. Any
two electrodes immersed in water show emf, due to the difference of their specific potentials. So for any three or more electrodes immersed in distilled water, one electrode behaves as a positive electrode (universal positive) and one behaves as a negative electrode (universal negative) with reference to the rest. This is due to the fact that no two electrodes are at exactly the same potential, due to differences in repulsion of electrons of water and electrons of electrodes (i.e; delocalized electrons in case of metals and π electrons in case of Graphite), when immersed in distilled water2.
The behavior of Cu and Pb to act as both positive & negative electrodes (in distilled water) shows that the potential generated by Cu and Pb may be greater or less than the potential generated by other electrodes. Also these electrodes can even act as both positive and negative electrodes simultaneously4.
Experiment 2: In this experiment two electrodes (Gr & Cu) are held in the hand by one person while the third electrode Zn is held by another person. The two human bodies are now connected through the tips of one of their fingers. The emf for each pairs are recorded and noted at a particular instant in table below (Case 1). This experiment is further repeated by replacing Cu by Pb (Lead) and readings recorded for a particular instant as noted below (case 2).
|Case 1||Human Body A||Human Body B||Electrode Pair||Emf (in mV)|
|Algebraic Sum Σ =|
|Case 2||Human Body A||Human Body B||Electrode Pair||Emf (in mV)|
|Algebraic Sum Σ =|
Observations & Discussions:
In both case 1 & case 2 the algebraic sum of the three pairs are found to be Zero. Again, it is hardly possible for ions to move from one human body to another by touching the tip of a finger, so obviously here nothing but water helps in generation of emf through the electrodes in touch with the human body and touched fingers only allow electrical conduction through it.
Experiment 3: A graphite electrode (Gr) and two zinc electrodes Zn A & Zn B are immersed in separate porous barriers, each containing 10 ml of distilled water. All porous barriers are placed on a container containing distilled water as shown in Fig2. The emf for each pair is measured and recorded as initial emf in table below. The final emf is recorded at intervals of 2 minutes after addition of 0.5g and 1g NaCl in the porous barrier containing Zn A and Zn B respectively.
|Sl.no.||Electrode pairs||Initial emf (in mV)||Final emf (in mV)i.e; after addition of salt|
|2 min||4 min||6 min||8min|
|1||Gr – ZnA||906|
|2||Gr – Zn B||930|
|3||Zn A – Zn B||24|
|Algebraic Sum(Σ) =||0|
Observations & Discussions:
Here a very similar result, as found in the Einthoven Triangle for the human body, is found by dipping three electrodes in distilled water and measuring the emf, i.e; the algebraic sum of the pairs being zero. Now even on addition of different amounts of salt to the different porous barriers containing Zn A and Zn B electrode, the algebraic sum of the three pairs remain zero. The increase in emf of Gr—ZnA, Gr—ZnB and even ZnA – ZnB on addition of salt again proves that distilled water is sufficient to generate emf and addition of ions in the form of NaCl only helps increase the resultant emf. It is also found that of the three porous barriers, the porous barrier containing ZnB is most negative (universal negative) due to the presence of maximum ions and the porous barrier containing Gr is always positive (universal positive) due to absence of any ions from salts.
Moreover, of the two Zinc electrodes, one of the Zinc ( Zn B ) is at higher potential (i.e. behaves as a negative electrode) than the other (Zn A ), which shows that even two identical metals when immersed in distilled water, generate some specific potential and hence show sufficient emf 2.
Now on addition of salt, as the salt content of porous barrier containing Zn B (10% NaCl ) is higher than the salt content of Zn A (5 % NaCl ), the resultant emf of Zn A — Zn B pair is found to increase from its initial value (i.e from 24mV to32 mV). So for the human body also, the amount of salt content must be the factor for such generation of emf (Fig 1). The salt content of limbs are therefore in the order Right Arm (RA) > left Arm (LA) > Left Leg (LL), and RA & LL may be called universal negative zones and universal positive zones respectively.
1) The Einthoven Triangle & Einthoven Law uphold the Law of Triangle for any three electrodes in distilled water,3 certainly the result of re-orientations of water molecules, which is also the mechanism of homeopathic remedies.
2) Right Arm (RA) and Left Leg (LL) being the highest and lowest salt content zone in the Einthoven triangle, may be termed the universal negative zone and universal positive zone respectively.
1) Textbook of Medical Physiology (Twelfth Edition)(Reprinted 2012) -Guyton and Hall
2) Generation of electrode Potential of an electrode –an explanation, Ruhul Amin & Biplab Chakraborty (Simillimum,vol.XXIII.2010,)
3) Homeopathic Individualization in The Light of Electrode Potential Ruhul Amin & Biplab Chakraborty (Published in Homeopathy For Everyone June 2012 hpathy.com )
4) The Science Behind Retention of Electrical Energy by Water, Ruhul Amin & Biplab Chakraborty (Published in Homeopathy For Everyone Oct 2012 hpathy.com )