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Instructors' Collection ECG: Lateral Wall M.I.

The patient:   This ECG was taken from a 66-year-old man who was complaining of chest pain at rest. He had been previously diagnosed with lung cancer with metastases to his bones.  The last ECG, taken one week ago, was normal.

The ECG:  There is mild sinus tachycardia at 101 bpm.  The rhythm is regular.  The QRS duration and PR interval are normal, as is the QTc.  The QRS voltage in the limb leads is small, and we do not know the patient’s height and weight.

There are notable ST elevations in I and aVL (high lateral wall) and in V5 and V6 (low lateral wall).  When the high and low lateral walls are similarly affected, we usually look to the circumflex artery as the culprit artery.  We also see ST depression in Leads III and aVF (reciprocal to the STE in I and aVL) and in V1 – V4.  This could indicate subendocardial damage or reciprocal changes.  This ECG meets the criteria for acute lateral myocardial infarction.

The patient was taken to the cath lab emergently.  His coronary arteries, including the left circumflex, all were free of occlusive lesions.  He had no coronary spasm during the procedure, but it was decided that spasm had been the cause of the ECG changes.  His ECG reverted to normal.

It is important to record abnormal findings, as some changes can be temporary or fleeting.  Coronary artery spasm can cause ischemia and damage to the heart, just as plaque lesions and blood clots can.

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ECG Basics: Second-degree AV Block, Type I

This two-lead rhythm strip shows a normal sinus rhythm at about 63 bpm.  The P waves are regular. After the sixth P-QRS, there is a non-conducted P wave.  The normal rhythm then resumes.  The two most common reasons for a non-conducted P wave in the midst of a normal sinus rhythm are 1) non-conducted PAC, and 2) Wenckebach conduction. The first is easy to rule out.  The non-conducted P wave is not premature, so it is not a PAC.  The second one is a little harder when we only have a short strip to look at.  We are conditioned to look for progressively-prolonging PR intervals until a QRS is "dropped".  In this case, the progression is in very tiny increments that are hard to see unless you zoom in and measure.  But they ARE progressively prolonging.  An easy hack:  measure the last PRI before the dropped beat and the first one after the pause.  You will see that the cycle ends on a longer PRI (about .28 seconds) and the new cycle starts up with a PR interval of about .20 seconds.  Fortunately, this conduction ratio will have very little effect on the patient's heart rate.

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Ask The Expert

Dr. Jerry W. Jones, MD, FACEP, FAAEM has graciously shared with us his four-part article on the topic of “Delays & Blocks Involving the Bundle Branches”.

Dr. Jones is a talented instructor who makes difficult topics easy.  Please feel free to post your comments and questions for Dr. Jones and our other ECG Gurus. 

Click THIS LINK for a downloadable pdf of Part 1: Non-Specific Intraventricular Conduction Delays. 

Click THIS LINK for a downloadable pdf of Part 2: Left Bundle Branch Block.

Click THIS LINK for a downloadable pdf of Part 3: Right Bundle Branch Block.

Click THIS LINK for a downloadable pdf of Part 4: The Fascicles of the Left Bundle Branch 

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ECG Glossary from Dr. Ken Grauer

Are you looking for a comprehensive ECG glossary that goes beyond simply defining words? Dr. Ken Grauer, who is the ECG Guru's Consulting Expert, has a Glossary available on his website that explains the terms.  Instructors and students alike will benefit from having this glossary readily available.  The glossary is exerpted from his e-Publication, "A 1st Book On ECGs - 2014", available on Amazon.

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1924:  Willem Einthoven wins the Nobel prize for inventing the electrocardiograph.

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