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Reciprocal ST depression

Instructors' Collection ECG: Anterior-lateral M.I. With Wide QRS

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 23:56 -- Dawn

The Patient:  An elderly man presents with chest pain, pallor, diaphoresis and weakness.

The ECG:     The rhythm is normal sinus at a rate of about 76 bpm with normal intervals. The QRS complexes are wide at about .14 seconds (140 ms).  There is ST segment elevation in all precordial leads, except for possibly V6.  The shape of the ST segments in the anterior wall range from coved upward in a “frowning” shape (V1) to very straight (V5 and V6).  There is also ST elevation in aVL with ST straightening in Lead I.  There is ST depression in the inferior leads, II, III, and aVF.  Lead II is equally biphasic while I and aVL are positive, indicating an axis that is shifted slightly to the left.  With his symptoms and this alarming ECG, he was sent promptly to the cath lab.

Interpretation:  The rather obvious ST-elevation M.I. is extensive, covering the entire anterior wall, and extending into the high and low lateral walls . This was confirmed in the cath lab, as the patient had an occlusion of the left anterior descending artery near the bifurcation of the circumflex.  The wide QRS meets the criteria for left bundle branch block (wide QRS, negative QRS in V1 and positive QRS in V6 and Lead I).  However, it doesn’t have the “look” of LBBB with the low-voltage seen in the anterior wall. After the offending artery was opened and stented, the wide complex became narrow and was considered to be an interventricular conduction delay that was due to the ischemia.  The ST depression in the inferior wall is most likely reciprocal.

Inferior Wall M.I. With Subtle ST Elevation

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 00:24 -- Dawn

This ECG is a good example of an inferior wall M.I. that was confirmed and treated in the cath lab.

The ST segments are elevated in Leads II, III, and aVF, but the amount of elevation may look subtle to some.   When the amount of elevation seems small, what other signs can help us recognize acute ST-elevation M.I.? 

PATIENT HISTORY AND PRESENTATION   This patient had acute chest pain, and was over the age of 50. We do not know his past medical history. His chest pain was described as substernal and epigastric, radiating to his back.  He had nausea and diaphoresis.  His past medical history is unknown, but it would be significant if he had a history of coronary artery disease, past M.I., smoking, metabolic syndrome, strong family history of heart disease, etc.

ST SEGMENT ELEVATION DISTRIBUTION   In acute STEMI, the elevation will be seen in “related leads”. That is, the leads that are affected will reflect a region of the heart that is supplied by the same artery. Some M.I.s are larger than others, affecting more leads, because some obstructions are more proximal than others in the artery.  This ECG shows STE in the inferior wall leads:  II, III, and aVF.  The culprit artery for this patient was the right coronary artery, which supplies the inferior and posterior wall of the left ventricle, the right ventricle, and the right atrium in the majority of people.

RECIPROCAL ST DEPRESSION   Finding reciprocal ST depression in the leads that are OPPOSITE the affected leads is a very reliable sign to confirm that the STEs are due to an acute M.I.  In fact, often the reciprocal depression is “stronger” or easier to see than the elevation.  It is important to teach your students how the standard leads are oriented to the heart, so they will recognize the 12-Lead ECG as a “map” of the heart.  The reciprocal ST depression in this ECG is seen in Leads aVL and I (subtle), which are across the frontal plane from Lead III.   We also note reciprocal ST depression in the precordial leads, especially notable in Leads V1 through V3.  This can reflect the injured area extending up the back of the heart from the inferior wall (posterior wall).  The R waves in V2 and V3 are a bit higher than normally expected, which could indicate a reciprocal view of pathological Q waves on the posterior wall.  Print the ECG out on paper, turn it upside down, and look at V2 and V3 through the back.  V2 and V3 will look like a “classic” STEMI.  This should be approximately the view you would get from additional posterior leads.

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