Objectives: We sought to determine the electrocardiographic (ECG) features associated with acute left main coronary artery (LMCA) obstruction.
Background: Prediction of LMCA obstruction is important with regard to selecting the appropriate treatment strategy, because acute LMCA obstruction usually causes severe hemodynamic deterioration, resulting in a less favorable prognosis.
Methods: We studied the admission 12-lead ECGs in 16 consecutive patients with acute LMCA obstruction (LMCA group), 46 patients with acute left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) obstruction (LAD group) and 24 patients with acute right coronary artery (RCA) obstruction (RCA group).
Results: Lead aVR ST segment elevation (>0.05 mV) occurred with a significantly higher incidence in the LMCA group (88% [14/16]) than in the LAD (43% [20/46]) or RCA (8% [2/24]) groups. Lead aVR ST segment elevation was significantly higher in the LMCA group (0.16 +/- 0.13 mV) than in the LAD group (0.04 +/- 0.10 mV). Lead V(1) ST segment elevation was lower in the LMCA group (0.00 +/- 0.21 mV) than in the LAD group (0.14 +/- 0.11 mV). The finding of lead aVR ST segment elevation greater than or equal to lead V(1) ST segment elevation distinguished the LMCA group from the LAD group, with 81% sensitivity, 80% specificity and 81% accuracy. A ST segment shift in lead aVR and the inferior leads distinguished the LMCA group from the RCA group. In acute LMCA obstruction, death occurred more frequently in patients with higher ST segment elevation in lead aVR than in those with less severe elevation.
Conclusions: Lead aVR ST segment elevation with less ST segment elevation in lead V(1) is an important predictor of acute LMCA obstruction. In acute LMCA obstruction, lead aVR ST segment elevation also contributes to predicting a patient's clinical outcome.