ST segment depression in a VL: a sensitive marker for acute inferior myocardial infarction

Eur Heart J. 1993 Jan;14(1):4-7. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/14.1.4.


In a substantial percentage of patients with acute myocardial infarction, especially in those with inferior wall involvement, no ST elevation is detected on the electrocardiogram. In many of them, ST depression is found in leads oriented to remote segments of the heart. The importance of those reciprocal changes for early diagnosis of acute inferior myocardial infarction in patients without ST elevation has not been stressed. In order to find the prevalence of reciprocal ST depression, we evaluated the admission electrocardiograms of 107 consecutive patients with evolving first acute inferior myocardial infarction. Ninety-three patients had ST elevation of at least 0.1 mV in at least one of the inferior leads: II, III or aVF (group A) and in 14 patients ST displacement did not reach 0.1 mV in any of these leads (group B). In both groups, reciprocal ST depression occurred more frequently in aVL than in any other lead. Only three patients had no ST depression in aVL. In eight patients (7.5%) ST depression in aVL was the sole early electrocardiographic sign of the inferior infarction. aVL is the only lead that is facing the superior part of the left ventricle and thus is the only lead that is truly opponent to the inferior wall. It seems that ST depression in aVL, by contrast to that in the precordial leads, is found in the majority of patients with evolving inferior wall myocardial infarction and is not influenced by extension of the infarction to the right ventricle or to the posterior wall.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / diagnosis
  • Angina Pectoris / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology