Transient electrocardiographic changes in patients with unstable angina: Relation to coronary arterial anatomy

Academic Article


  • The relation between the spontaneous electrocardiographic changes and coronary arterial anatomy in unstable angina pectoris was examined in 97 patients with coronary artery disease and transient electrocardiographic changes during chest pain. Sinus rhythm was maintained during pain in all patients. Heart rate increased significantly in 61 percent (mean ± standard error of the mean 72 ± 2 to 93 ± 2 beats/min, probability [p] < 0.001) and was unchanged or decreased in 39 percent of patients (73 ± 2 to 72 ± 2 beats/min; p = not significant) during pain. S-T segment changes developed in 97 percent of patients, of whom 42 percent had S-T segment elevation and 55 percent S-T depression. The magnitude of the S-T segment shift was greater in patients with triple vessel disease (2.2 ± 0.4 mm) than in those with double (1.5 ± 0.1 mm) or single (1.4 ± 0.1 mm) vessel disease (p < 0.05). In 43 patients with single vessel disease S-T segment elevation developed in 78 percent of those with right coronary artery disease and in only 9 percent of those with left circumflex disease (p < 0.02). Maximal S-T segment changes were more frequent in the inferior leads in patients with right coronary artery disease (56 percent) and in the anterior leads in patients with left anterior descending (65 percent) and circumflex (64 percent) disease (p < 0.05). Thus, patients with coronary artery disease and unstable angina maintain regular sinus rhythm during chest pain, and the heart rate usually increases but may be unchanged or decreased in a significant proportion. S-T segment elevation is common in these patients and the magnitude of the S-T segment shift is related to the extent of the underlying coronary disease. This study suggests that the type and distribution of the repolarization changes are a reflection of the location and severity of the atherosclerotic process. © 1980.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Papapietro SE; Niess GS; Paine TD; Mantle JA; Rackley CE; Russell RO; Rogers WJ
  • Start Page

  • 28
  • End Page

  • 33
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 1