|Computerized QRS is 114 ms|
What do you think?
There is an rSR’ in V1 and a qR in V2, suggesting incomplete RBBB. There is some concordant ST elevation (concordant to the R’-wave) in both those leads and T-wave inversion in V5 and V6. But V3 is normal without any evidence of STEMI, and with a low voltage T-wave. And there is very large voltage in aVL that is diagnostic of LVH. LVH can produce a wide variety of pseudoSTEMI patterns.
Here was my response:
Not a STEMI. Unusual but does not look right for ischemia. If you suspect MI, get an echo. I’ll bet the anterior wall is fine.
There was an ECG from 3 months ago available for comparison:
QRS is 107 ms.
So the incomplete RBBB is new.
There was LVH by voltage
Baseline ST elevation is even greater, due to LVH
Here are the ED cardiac ultrasounds:
First, parasternal long axis:
LVH with good wall motion. Thick interventricular septum of LVH.
Here is the parasternal short axis:
Concentric LVH. No anterior (or other) wall motion abnormality is visible
Here is parasternal short axis with strain speckle tracking:
This shows perfect wall motion.
A repeat ECG was recorded 37 minutes after the first:
|This appears frightening, but I thought it was due to artifact, and requested another ECG.|
Here is the next one, recorded 65 minutes after the first:
|LVH with no evidence of STEMI.|
There is no rSR’s here either.
At this point, the troponin I returned at 2.4 ng/mL (quite elevated) and since the patient had active 3/10 chest pain uncontrolled with nitroglycerine, so the cath lab was activated.
Remember: no matter what the ECG shows, even if completely normal, if the patient has uncontrolled chest pain and an elevated troponin without another clear explanation (such as pulmonary embolism), emergent angiography is indicated. Complete coronary occlusion can be invisible on the ECG. These ECGs do NOT show ischemia, but that is not proof of absence of coronary occlusion.
Another ECG was recorded before the angiogram at 101 minutes:
|Now there is qR in V2 again, with that same concordant STE. QRS is 110 ms.|
The patient was taken for an angiogram, which was normal, with no evidence of ACS. ”No significant stenosis, thrombus or plaque rupture noted.”
A formal echocardiogram showed LVH but was otherwise normal, with no wall motion abnormality.
Here is the troponin profile:
So what was the etiology?
The patient did not get a further diagnostic workup. For example, he might have undergone MRI to evaluate for myocarditis. But it was not necessary. It could also have been a NonSTEMI with autolysis of thrombus and no residual culprit (no residual thrombus or ulcerated plaque visualized, which happens in 5-10% of NonSTEMI).
In such a case, the only way to know for certain if ECG findings are a result of ischemia is to see if subsequent ECGs evolve: any ischemic ST elevation, hyperacute T-wave, or ST depression will not remain static over time, especially after autolysis. Unfortunately, no ECG was recorded later. However, ischemia that is invisible on the ECG (as in this case) will not evolve over time. Therefore, without MRI to distinguish 1) NonSTEMI with autolysis of thrombus vs. 2) myocarditis, we will never know for certain what happened.
As I suspected, these ECG findings are almost certainly manifestations of LVH.
There are many PseudoSTEMI or PseudoMI patterns, including those due to LVH. There is also Pseudo-Wellens’ due to LVH. They are recognizable. They do not rule out coronary occlusion but they leave room for careful evaluation, especially with high quality echocardiography.
Often, even if you suspect PseudoSTEMI, angiogram may be the only way to be certain there is no acute coronary occlusion.
However, if you are unaware of all the pseudoSTEMI patterns, you will pull the trigger on the cath lab too soon too often.
In the context of an angiogram showing no obstructive coronary disease and elevated troponins, only evolution of the ECG, or its absence, can establish the etiology of ECG findings that are questionable for ischemia.
Other LVH PseusoSTEMI cases:
This very important case posted a few days ago:
posted just last week:
Here is an extensive discussion of the LVH pseudoSTEMI phenomenon:
PseudoWellens’ due to LVH
Wellens’ waves are NOT equivalent to Wellens’ syndrome: Pseudo-Wellens’ due to LVH and HTN
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