Are serial ECGs useful in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction?

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Abstract

EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWER

Timely serial electrocardiograms (ECGs) in patients presenting with chest pain can aid in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI). Most acute MIs are diagnosed with the first ECG, but subsequent ECGs completed 9 to 30 minutes after the initial ECG can identify 15% to 20% of initially undetected MIs (SOR: B, prospective and retrospective cohort studies). ECGs should be performed every 15 to 30 minutes during the first hour after presentation then every 3 to 6 hours (SOR: C, consensus guidelines).

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