Objectives: The authors analyzed surgical cases in which electrocardiographic (ECG) signs of cardiac ischemia were noted to be precipitated by increases in heart rate (ie, heart rate-related ECG changes [REC]). The authors aimed to find REC incidence, specificity for coronary artery disease (CAD), and the outcome associated with different management strategies.
Design: A retrospective review.
Setting: A university hospital, tertiary care.
Participants: Patients undergoing surgery under anesthesia.
Interventions: A chart review.
Measurements: The authors searched 158,252 anesthesia electronic records for comments noting REC (ie, ST-segment or T-wave changes). After excluding cases with potentially confounding conditions (eg, hypotension, hyperkalemia, and so on), 26 cases were analyzed.
Results: REC commonly was precipitated by anesthesia-related events (ie, intubation, extubation, and treatment of bradycardia). In 24 cases, REC was managed by prompt heart rate reduction using β-blocker agents, opioids, and/or cardioversion in the addition to the removal of stimulus. Only 1 case had a copy of the ECG printed. Two cases were aborted, 1 was shortened and 23 proceeded without change. Postoperative troponin T levels were checked, and cardiology consultation was obtained in selected cases and led to further cardiac evaluation in 6 cases. Postoperative myocardial infarction developed in only 1 patient in whom the ECG changes were allowed to persist throughout the case.
Conclusions: This incidence of reported REC was much lower than the previously reported incidence of ischemia-related ECG changes, suggesting that the largest proportion of events go unnoticed. In many patients, subsequent cardiology workup did not confirm the existence of clinically significant CAD.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.