Terminal QRS distortion is present in anterior myocardial infarction but absent in early repolarization

Daniel H. Lee, Brooks Walsh, Stephen W Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Early repolarization (ER) and acute left anterior descending artery occlusion (LADO) may be difficult to distinguish. Terminal QRS distortion (TQRSD), defined by the absence of both an S wave and J wave in either of leads V2 or V3, is often present in anterior ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that this finding would always be absent in ER. Methods This was a retrospective analysis of electrocardiograms (ECGs) of consecutive patients who presented to the emergency department with ischemic symptoms and had a cardiologist interpretation of “benign ER” on the initial emergency department ECG. All ECGs were scrutinized for the presence of an S wave and a J wave in leads V2 and V3. Differences in S-wave amplitudes between complexes with and without J waves were analyzed using nonparametric Mann-Whitney testing and confidence intervals around a proportion. Results One hundred seventy-one patients were identified with benign ER. Zero of 171 had TQRSD (specificity for LADO, 100%; 95% confidence interval, 97.8-100). In lead V2, S waves were absent in only 1 of 171 ECGs; however, in that ECG, a J wave measuring 0.5 mm was present. In lead V3, S waves were absent in 16 ECGs, but all of these ECGs had J waves. When J waves were absent in leads V2 or V3, the corresponding S waves were deeper than S waves in QRS complexes with J waves. Conclusion Terminal QRS distortion was never observed in benign ER. Based on previous studies indicating the presence of TQRSD in LADO, it was, thus, 100% specific to LADO when the differential diagnosis was acute myocardial infarction vs ER.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2182-2185
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume34
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

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