Reciprocal ST-Segment Changes in Myocardial Infarction: Ischemia at Distance Versus Mirror Reflection of ST-Elevation

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Background:Reciprocal ST-depression in the electrocardiograms (ECGs) of patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) results from either true ischemia at a distance via collateral circulation diverting blood to the infarcted region or an electrical phenomenon that results from a mirror reflection of ST-elevation. We aimed to identify the role of reciprocal ECG changes in predicting collateral circulation to the infarcted area determined angiographically.Methods:In a retrospective study, ECG and angiography of 53 STEMI patients admitted to SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2014 were reviewed independently by experts blinded to the results of ECG and coronary angiography.Results:Reciprocal changes (RC) in ECG were present in 41 patients (77%) and on angiography, 14 patients (26%) exhibited collateral vessels to the ischemic areas. No correlation was found between the presence of RC and collateral circulation (P = 0.384), or between the depth of reciprocal ST-depression and the degree of the collateral circulation (P = 0.195). However, 84% of patients without collaterals exhibited resolution of RC after successful percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (P = 0.036), suggesting that the ST depressions that resolved after reperfusion were directly caused by the culprit vessel. Patients without RC presented late after symptom onset (9.25 versus 3.83 hours, P = 0.004), also suggesting time related resolution.Conclusions:RC had no relation to or predictive value for collaterals on angiography. Among late presenting patients, RC were less frequent. Thus, reciprocal ST-depression may represent subendocardial ischemia from the primary coronary event or simply an electrical phenomenon, rather than ischemia at distance from impaired collateral circulation.

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