Background: Diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients is important because immediate coronary angiography with coronary angioplasty could improve outcome in this setting. However, the value of acute post-resuscitation electrocardiographic (ECG) data for the detection of AMI is debatable.
Methods: We assessed the diagnostic characteristics of post-resuscitation ECG changes in a retrospective single centre study evaluating several ECG criteria of selection of patients undergoing AMI, in order to improve sensitivity, even at the expense of specificity. Immediate post resuscitation coronary angiogram was performed in all patients. AMI was defined angiographically using coronary flow and plaque morphology criteria.
Results: We included 165 consecutive patients aged 56 (IQR 48-67) with sustained return of spontaneous circulation after OHCA between 2002 and 2008. 84 patients had shockable, 73 non-shockable and 8 unknown initial rhythm; 36% of the patients had an AMI. ST-segment elevation predicted AMI with 88% sensitivity and 84% specificity. The criterion including ST-segment elevation and/or depression had 95% sensitivity and 62% specificity. The combined criterion including ST-segment elevation and/or depression, and/or non-specific wide QRS complex and/or left bundle branch block provided a sensitivity and negative predictive value of 100%, a specificity of 46% and a positive predictive value of 52%.
Conclusion: In patients with OHCA without obvious non-cardiac causes, selection for coronary angiogram based on the combined criterion would detect all AMI and avoid the performance of the procedure in 30% of the patients, in whom coronary angiogram did not have a therapeutic role.
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