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Posts Tagged ‘ecg mimickers of stemi’

This  is the ECG  of  a  45 year old man with  H/O hypertension  and  chest pain .The general practitioner who first saw him alerted this  patient about a possible  heart  attack  asked to meet a cardiologist immediately. The cardiologist who  saw  this ECG   tended to confirm  the diagnosis  and advised admission in  a coronary  care unit .

The patient   defied  both  and  somehow landed in my echo lab  .  Looking at the ECG   I also  expected  it to be a  STEMI  evolving into a  Non Q  MI .

I was surprised  to find  only LVH with absolutely no wall motion defect  . There was no evidence of ASH,  HOCM or apical cardiomyoapthy as one of my fellows initially  suspected . His  EF was 70 %.   Cardiac enzymes were sent by then. When  I spent few minutes  with him ,  listening the history , it was very clear  what  he had was  non cardiac pain . In the anxiety ,  no one  got it right  about the character of pain ,which  was localised , lasted  for few seconds and  least suggesed angina.

The moral of the story is   listen to the patient  however dramatic the ECG may look !

What is special in this ECG ?

It is common for LVH with ST depression to be  mistaken for  ACS/NSTEMI

Here , there were  other  observations that  added  more  complexity .

  • Presence  of  ST/T changes in inferior leads(ST elevation in lead 3)
  • Bi-phasic  T wave in v1 to v3
  • ST elevation  in precardial leads

In LVH  it is usual  to note  ST depresion , how do you explain ST elevation in LVH ?

ST elevation in LVH   may occur in  leads  v1 to v3   . It is very rare  for LVH to inscribe  ST  elevation in   v4 v5 v6  .   Why certain  leads elevate the ST segment while others depress  in LVH  is not clear. It may represent  incomplete LBBB pattern where the ST segment deviates opposite to the  dominant QRS  complex. Septal  hypertrophy often elevate  while free  wall  hypertrophy depress the ST segment . Since V5,V6 leads are free wall oriented , these leads  record  classical  ST depression .

Importance of Bi-Phasic T waves

Please remember  Bi phasic T waves are notorious for it’s  unpredictability. An  innocuous looking bi-phasic T waves  (especially  with dynamic behavior )   is a  harbinger of proximal  LAD or even left main disease.

Finally , what will be ECG  changes if a patient with classical  LVH  who  develops a  real  STEMI ?

  • LV strain  pattern normalises ?
  • Further ST depression  occurs ?
  • No great changes . ECG  Looks near normal ?

Answer : ?

What is the significance  of   Bi-phasic T  waves : A  link to  a related post

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