How often pulmonary embolism mimics acute coronary syndrome?

Link to article at PubMed

How often pulmonary embolism mimics acute coronary syndrome?

Kardiol Pol. 2011;69(3):235-40

Authors: Kukla P, D?ugopolski R, Krupa E, Furtak R, Mirek-Bryniarska E, Sze?emej R, Jastrz?bski M, Nowak J, Kulak L, Hybel J, Wrabec K, Kawecka-Jaszcz K, Bryniarski L

BACKGROUND: The clinical picture of acute pulmonary embolism (APE) is often uncharacteristic and may mimic acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or lung diseases, leading to misdiagnosis. In 50% of patients, APE is accompanied by chest pain and in 30-50% of the patients markers of myocardial injury are elevated.
AIM: To perform a retrospective assessment of how often clinical manifestations and investigations (ECG findings and elevated markers of myocardial injury) in patients with APE may be suggestive of ACS.
METHODS: We included 292 consecutive patients (109 men and 183 women) from 17 to 89 years of age (mean age 65.4 ± 15.5 years) with APE diagnosed according the ESC guidelines.
RESULTS: Among the 292 patients included in the study 33 patients died during hospitalisation (mortality rate 11.3%) and 73 (25.0%) patients developed complications. A total of 75 (25.7%) patients were classified as high risk according to the ESC risk stratification, 163 (55.8%) as intermediate risk and 54 (18.5%) as low risk. Chest pain on and/or before admission was reported by 128 (43.8%) patients, including 73 (57.0%) patients with chest pain of coronary origin, 52 (40.6%) patients with chest pain of pleural origin and 3 patients with pain of undeterminable origin based on the available documentation. A total of 56 (19.2%) patients had a history of ischaemic heart disease and 5 (1.7%) had a history of myocardial infarction. A total of 8 (2.7%) patients were admitted with the initial diagnosis of ACS. The high-risk group consisted of 15 (20.6%) patients with a typical retrosternal chest pain and 60 (27.3%) patients without the typical anginal pain. Elevated troponin was observed in 103 (35.3%) patients. The ECG changes suggestive of myocardial ischaemia (inverted T waves, ST-segment depression or elevation) were observed in 208 (71.2%) patients. The following findings were significantly more common in high-risk versus non-high-risk patients: ST-segment depression in V4-V6 (42.6% vs 23.9%, p = 0.02), ST-segment elevation in V1 (46.7% vs 20.0%, p = 0.0002) and aVR (70.7% vs 40.1%, p = 0.0007).
CONCLUSIONS: One third of patients with APE may present with all the manifestations (pain, elevated troponin and ECG changes) suggestive of ACS. The ECG changes suggestive of myocardial ischaemia are observed in 70% of the patients with ST-segment depression in V4-V6 and ST-segment elevation in V1 and aVR being significantly more common in high-risk vs non-high-risk patients.

PMID: 21432791 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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