|What do you think? Computerized QRS duration is 120 ms.|
My thought was that it looked like there was likely very subtle anterior injury. In spite of the slightly prolonged conduction, I applied the anterior STEMI calculator (see sidebar excel applet, or "subtleSTEMI" iphone app), using:
1. ST elevation at 60 ms after the J-point in lead V3: 2 mm (it is probably really 2.5 mm, but I wanted to be conservative)
2. computerized QTc = 413 ms
3. R-wave amplitude in V4 = 9 mm
Result = 23.83 (greater than 23.4 and thus indicating likely LAD occlusion)
Here is his previous ECG:
So I went to look at the chart:
He was a male in his 60s who complained of chest pain. He had h/o inferior STEMI which was stented.
As I suspected, these ST and T-wave changes were not seen. Most physicians do not see such abnormalities, even if they are changes, as in this case. They are extremely subtle. That is why I recommend scrutinizing them, comparing carefully with the previous ECG, and using the formula to see if your suspicions are worth pursuing.
A positive result with such scrutiny does NOT mandate cath lab activation, but does require further intense scrutiny.
One area of further scrutiny is to look at the previous cath findings: was there LAD or left main disease? Is LAD ischemia a real possibility? If they had looked, they would have found that the left main had a 50% lesion and the LAD had a 90% distal stenosis. The distal stenosis does not fit with this ECG which looks like septal STEMI, but the left main does.
This patient was treated for unstable angina medically. His initial troponin was negative.
However, he did not get evaluated for possible acute LAD occlusion.
Later, his next troponin 3 hours later was 1.3 ng/mL. At this time, he underwent another ECG, five hours after the first:
|The ST elevation is resolved. This again strongly supports that the first one had acute ischemia causing ST elevation|
The next day he went for an angiogram and was found to have severe 3 vessel disease involving the left main and the LAD. The LAD had a new, open, 80% ostial lesion. The left main had a new 60-70% stenosis. I am not sure which (or both?) was the culprit, but either could have resulted in death.
It is all but certain that one of them was occluded, or nearly so, when the patient was having chest pain and ST elevation.
Fortunately for all involved, this LAD (or left main) reperfused spontaneously, with the aid of aspirin, plavix, and heparin. Had it not done so, it could have been disastrous for the patient.
He went for CABG.
Scrutinize the ECG
Scrutinize the History
These findings are discoverable: I found them by just glancing at the ECG in a random stack, without any other information. They are there on the ECG. You just have to get good at looking for them, use the formula, compare with the previous, and look at the previous angiogram results. If suspicion persists, pursue even further scrutiny.