Posts Tagged ‘unstable angian without thrombus’

Thrombus laden plaque  is sine qua-non of UA/NSTEMI . That’s what we  have been taught  !  right ?  It may be  true in many  situations , but please remember there is another concept  called  demand ischemia , where in there is  no active thrombus ,  still resting  angina may occur due to  increasing heart rate etc.

I just wanted to test how far this concept is understood ,  by the  fellows in our coronary care unit . Following  is  story of a patient who arrived at CCU with  angina  at rest .  I showed  this   ECG asked them the  management .

positive est and unstable angina

History was  purposefully blinded . 5/6 cardiologists wanted to admit the patient either in CCU or rush to cath lab.  Heparin/ Fondaparuinux was prescribed by all. Tirofiabn was suggested by few.It is a  high risk UA with left main disease some one  mumbled .

I silently listened to them and  revealed the history . This patient  has just finished the  exercise stress test , it was terminated as he had angina at peak exercise. and was  reported as  positive . A date was fixed for elective   coronary angiogram. 10 minutes later ECG totally normalised  , and the patient went home (Boarding a crowded Chennai  city bus )

The fellows realised the importance of history . In fact no body asked for it ?  I felt  bad  as  all my fellows failed in this test That reflects bad teaching on my part !

What is the mechanism of ST depression here ?

  • Fresh thrombus ?
  • Mechanical occlusion ?
  • High  heart rate ?
  • Combination of high rate and probable flow limiting lesion .

(Severe forms of  stable angina can occur at rest . So do not equate all rest angina as true  unstable angina !)

Final message

Do not label an ECG straightaway  as acute coronary syndrome when there  is  baseline  tachycardia and ST depression . Spare few minutes and apply your mind !

If  a combination of ST depression  and angina  can be taken  synonyms with UA  every EST positive fellow should be labeled as UA and admitted in CCU. Please remember any tachycardia with a fixed tight lesion will  mimic UA . Further ,  since there is no thrombus here  and there is absolutely  no role for heparin.

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