The snow-shoveler's ST elevation myocardial infarction

Am J Cardiol. 2010 Aug 15;106(4):596-600. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.03.075.


Heavy snowfall, cold temperatures, and low atmospheric pressure during the winter months have been associated with increased adverse cardiovascular events. However, only a few cases of the "snow shoveler's infarction" have been reported. The investigators describe their experience with 6 patients presenting with ST elevation myocardial infarctions, all within a 24-hour period during an unprecedented snowfall (4 of whom were shoveling snow), and provide a detailed review of previously reported cases of snow shoveler's infarction. Consistent with other reports, most patients reported here had the traditional cardiac risk factors of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, tobacco use, and sedentary lifestyle. Unique to this case series, however, was that the 4 patients who had histories of coronary artery disease and previous coronary artery stenting all presented with subacute stent thromboses documented on coronary angiography performed emergently. Moreover, these patients constituted 25% of all subacute stent thromboses diagnosed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory in the preceding 12 months. In conclusion, these findings suggest that in typically sedentary individuals with cardiac risk factors or histories of coronary artery disease, snow shoveling may trigger ST elevation myocardial infarction and therefore should be avoided. This may be most critical in patients with histories of coronary stent placement, considering that these findings suggest that snow shoveling may precipitate subacute stent thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Physical Exertion
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Stents