ECG Case 007

70-year old patient presenting with chest pain, dyspnoea and dizziness. BP 90/50. SaO2 83% RA

TOP 100 ECG QUIZ LITFL 007 2

Describe and interpret this ECG

ECG ANSWER and INTERPRETATION

Main Abnormalities

  • Sinus tachycardia ~ 100 bpm.
  • Anterior T wave abnormalities: inverted in V1-3, biphasic in V4.
  • Inferior T wave abnormalities: biphasic in III, aVF.
  • Subtle ST elevation in III and aVF.

Significance of ECG Findings

This pattern of T wave inversions in the right precordial leads V1-4 plus the inferior leads (especially the rightward-facing lead III) is referred to as the right ventricular strain pattern. It is a marker of right ventricular hypertrophy or dilatation.

Diagnosis

In a patient presenting with acute shortness of breath, the combination of…

  • Sinus tachycardia
  • RV strain pattern in V1-4 (+/- lead III)

… is highly suggestive of acute cor pulmonale due to massive pulmonary embolism.

However, these ECG changes are not specific to PE and may be seen in other conditions associated with pulmonary hypertension and RV enlargement including:


CLINICAL PEARLS

Other ECG findings associated with pulmonary embolism include:

The oft-quoted SI QIII TIII  pattern (deep S wave in lead I, Q wave in III, inverted T wave in III) is neither sensitive nor specific for PE and is infrequently seen (20% of cases).

Similarly, sinus tachycardia is not as ubiquitous in PE as people seem to think (< 50% of cases), and certainly should not be relied up to exclude PE.


TOP 100 ECG SERIES


Emergency Physician in Prehospital and Retrieval Medicine in Sydney, Australia. He has a passion for ECG interpretation and medical education | ECG Library |

One comment

  1. How to differentiate this from Wellens-Syndrom?

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