Background: Lets face it. All of us have been interrupted by the onslaught of triage ECGs for interpretation. This constant flow of pink paper with black scribble causes frequent task switching, interrupts train of thought, and ultimately can lead to medical errors, which affects the patients in front of us. On the other hand, it is important to avoid delays in care and, in accordance with the American Heart Association guidelines, ECGs in triage should be obtained and interpreted by an attending emergency physician within 10 minutes of arrival to the emergency department for any patients with concerns of acute coronary syndrome. Is there a way to maybe minimize the number of interruptions? Read more →
Tag Archive for: ECG
Background: The electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the most useful diagnostic studies for identification of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The classic teaching is ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is defined as symptoms consistent with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) + new ST-segment elevation at the J point in at least 2 anatomically contiguous leads of at least 2mm (0.2mV) in men or at least 1.5mm in women in leads V2 – V3 and/or at least 1mm (0.1mV) in other contiguous leads or the limb leads, in the absence of a left bundle branch block, left ventricular hypertrophy, or other non-acute MI ST-segment elevation presentations. Unfortunately, the ECG may be non-diagnostic in nearly half of all patients who initially present with AMI. There are also STEMI equivalent patterns that are caused by occlusion of the coronary arteries that place a significant portion of the left ventricle at jeopardy and result in poor outcomes. This review article focused on 5 under recognized high-risk ECG patterns in the ACS patient that result in poor outcomes including malignant dysrhythmias, higher rates of cardiogenic shock, and death. Read more →
A 52 year old female with a past medical history of type II diabetes mellitus and tobacco abuse presents with a chief complaint of chest pain.
According to the patient she had about 2 – 3 months of stuttering, substernal chest pain without any radiation. She described the pain as pressure-like, with activity, but that it would typically resolve after a few minutes of rest. Today she awoke with substernal chest pain that never resolved and continued in the emergency department. She quantifies her pain as 7/10 and not relieved with 2L nasal cannula of oxygen, 325mg PO aspirin, and SL NTG x3.
BP 127/89 HR 76 RR 20 O2 sat 100% on 2L NC Temp 99.3
Awake, A&Ox3, appears uncomfortable
Mild JVD on examination
RRR w/o m/r/g
2+ pulses in her extremities, no edema
ECG is shown (No prior ECG for comparison)…..
89 year old male with PMH of hypertension, stage 3 chronic kidney disease with chief complaint of shortness of breath. Several days ago patient had a laminectomy for radicular pain. He was doing fine post-operatively and began to develop gradual shortness of breath. He had no complaints of chest pain, nausea/vomiting, fevers, diaphoresis, but did have some weakness. There were no prior ECGs for comparison.
BP: 98/48 HR: 103 RR: 18 O2 on RA: 94% Temp: 38.6
JVD to the angle of the mandible
Bilateral lower extremity pitting edema
Labs: Na 125, K+ 4.2, Creatinine 2, BNP > 2500
ECG from triage is shown… Read more →
Hyperkalemia is an electrolyte abnormality seen in the emergency department as well as in hospitalized patients and it can be associated with adverse clinical outcomes and death if not treated appropriately. It is important to remember that the electrophysiologic effects of hyperkalemia are directly proportional to both the absolute plasma potassium and its rate of rise. However, neither the ECG nor the plasma potassium alone are an adequate index of the severity of hyperkalemia, and therefore providers should have a low threshold to initiate therapy. Classic teaching of the chronological ECG changes of hyperkalemia include:
- Peaked T waves
- Prolongation of PR interval
- Widening QRS Complex
- Loss of P wave
- “Sine Wave”