Specificity of electrocardiographic myocardial infarction screening criteria in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathies

Bimal R. Shah, Christine Lin, Charles Maynard, Bradley A Bart, Ronald H. Selvester, Linda K. Shaw, Christopher O'Connor, Galen S. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The 32-point, 5A-criteria Selvester ORS scoring system has been successfully used to estimate the size of nonacute myocardial infarction (MI). Three criteria of the system have been shown to be sensitive for the identification of nonacute MI and specific in normal control subjects. The validity of the system has not been tested in patients with cardiomyapathy of nonischemic origin. The purpose of this study was to examine the electrocardiographs (ECGs) of patients with abnormal left ventricular function but no presence of coronary disease to determine the diagnostic specificity of the MI screening criteria subset of the Selvester QRS scoring system. Methods and Results: Six hundred ninety patients were considered. Exclusion criteria included age <10 years, cardiac transplantation, thrombolytic therapy, any angiographic evidence of coronary disease, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) >60%, or history of myocardial revascularization. ECG exclusion criteria included left ventricular hypertrophy, right ventricular hypertrophy, left bundle branch block, right bundle branch block, ventricular pacing, left anterior fascicular block, left posterior fascicular block, ventricular preexcitation, and low voltage, because these confounding factors could mimic an infarct on the ECG. The 261 remaining patients were then examined for the presence of the MI screening criteria subset: (1) inferior location: Q ≤30 msec in aVF, (2) anterior location: either any Q or R ≤0.1 mV and ≤10 msec in V2, and (3) posterior location: R ≤40 msec in V1. Thirty-two of the 261 patients falsely met at least 1 of the 3 MI screening criteria, resulting in an overall specificity of 88% (vs 95% in normal control subjects, P = .0006). A specificity of 98% (n = 256) was achieved for the inferior MI screening criterion alone, whereas the anterior and posterior MI screening criteria alone achieved significantly lower specificities: 94% (n = 245) and 95% (n = 249), respectively. When the patient population was divided into LVEF <30% and LVEF ≤30%, no significant association was found between MI screening criteria and LVEF with specificities of 87% and 88%, respectively, for the 2 groups (P = .34). Conclusions: The MI screening criteria subset is relatively specific in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy, falsely identifying only 12% with nonacute MI. However, this specificity is lower than the 95% achieved in normal subjects. Regional accumulation of scarring caused by cardiomyopathy could result in false-positive indication of MI in the present population. Another possibility could be that some patients could have hypertrophy of the myocardium insufficient to produce positive ECG criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy or right ventricular hypertrophy but sufficient to mimic infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-319
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


Dive into the research topics of 'Specificity of electrocardiographic myocardial infarction screening criteria in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this