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A partial list of chest pain in the “Post-Infarction” period

Posted May 21 2012 11:07pm

We know prompt reperfusion of infarct related artery( IRA) by any means  constitute the specific management of  STEMI .However, It needs  to be emphasized ,  treatment process of STEMI  is not over after  primary  PCI or thrombolysis .Early hours after a PCI or thrombolysis  is vital as well .The ill-fated coronary arteries are as  vulnerable as before.  In the setting of multi-vessel CAD  (Which usually is the case) the unpredictability is still more.

Image courtesy New york times , January 5 , 2009

When a patient complaints of chest pain  24 hours after a STEMI . Think about any of the possibilities and act accordingly.

  1. Infarct related pain ( Dull aching pain from residual neural signals from infarct zone,  till type C  un-medullated  nerve endings  die of hypoxia )
  2. Post infarct angina -From IRA zone (Residual ischemia)
  3. Post infarct angina-From Non IRA zone(New Remote ischemia)
  4. Re-Infarction
  5. Infarct expansion/ Extension /mechanical stretch
  6. Pericarditis
  7. Intra coronary dissection adjoining  a plaque (Plaque fissures  are same as dissections if they extend into media ! But plaque fissures are painless since they lack nerve endings  )
  8. Myocardial tear /Rupture (Generates  severe pain , usually transmit to back , patient often become violent and poorly respond  even to narcotics)
  9. Post resuscitation/DC shock / chest wall contusion . ( I know at least one patient  who was rushed to cath lab for a  suspected  acute stent thrombosis  ,  it was indeed   a rib fracture during an  earlier resuscitation at ER  on his arrival !)
  10. Finally ,when the  pain is refractory and atypical   non cardiac chest pain which might have been pre existing to be considered as remote possibility .

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