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How to miss pericarditis in coronary care unit : Be casual

Posted Mar 18 2011 1:49pm

For  a police officer who visit a crime site   every one looks as  a culprit. For a cardiologist  sitting in coronary  care unit  all chest pain  will have to look like  an infarct  !  Then only he is a cardiologist !

A rare but costly mistake occasionally  happens . When a  patient with severe chest pain localized to retro sternum  with ST elevation in ECG , enters the ER  there is absolutely no reason to suspect any condition other than STEMI.

But Medicine is an art we can not take it as granted . Here  was  a patient who presented with this ECG and one our fellows correctly diagnosed the condition .

Most  physicians would have thromolysed this patient or  might have wheeled into cath lab.  We have such events reported from primary  PCI registry .

Key differentiating points

  • Diffuse ST elevation not confining to a arterial territory
  • Absence of reciprocal changes
  • ST  segment with concavity upwards.
  • Echocardiogram and enzymes will be useful

iFAQs  in pericarditis

What is the mechanism of ST elevation  pericarditis ?

It is actually a zone of epicardial or Sub epicardial injury.

What will be the ECG finding if STEMI is associated with fibrinous pericarditis ?

Double dose of ST elevation .Mimics  a re infarction.

What are the dangers of thrombolysing a patient with diffuse pericarditis ?

It can bleed into pericardial  space

What happens

What will be the ECG finding in localised pericarditis ?


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