Electrocardiogram patterns in acute left main coronary artery occlusion

J Electrocardiol. 2008 Nov-Dec;41(6):626-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2008.06.020. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


Acute coronary syndrome with subtotal occlusion of the left main coronary artery is rather frequently encountered in the catheterization laboratory, whereas survival to hospital admission of sudden total occlusion of the left main coronary artery is rare. The typical electrocardiographic (ECG) finding in cases with preserved flow through the left main is widespread ST-segment depression maximally in leads V4-V6 with inverted T waves and ST-segment elevation in lead aVR. In acute myocardial ischemia without (or with minor) myocardial necrosis, the ECG pattern is transient, whereas persistent ECG changes, usually without development of Q waves, are indicative of myocardial injury. In acute total left main occlusion, severe ischemia may be manifested in the ECG by life-threatening tachyarrhythmias, conduction disturbances, and ST-segment deviation. Because of the potential for life-saving therapeutic options by invasive therapy, the ECG markers of the serious condition should be recognized by the medical profession. Left main occlusion should be suspected in severely ill patients with widespread ST-segment depressions, especially in leads V4-V6 with inverted T waves or ST elevation involving the anterior precordial leads and the lateral extremity leads I and aVL. In addition, lead aVR ST elevation accompanied by either anterior ST elevation or widespread ST-segment depression may indicate left main occlusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnosis*
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Humans