The neglected lead on electrocardiogram: T wave inversion in lead aVL, nonspecific finding or a sign for left anterior descending artery lesion?

Getaw Worku Hassen, Ana Costea, Tennyson Smith, Claire Carrazco, Hafiz Hussein, Bahareh Soroori-Rad, Sonia Vaidian, Justin Seashore, Edris Alderwish, Wei Sun, Alice Chen, Bonnie Simmons, Shakeel Usmani, Hossein Kalantari, George Fernaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background The electrocardiogram (ECG) is the most important diagnostic tool for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). T wave inversion (TWI) in lead aVL has not been emphasized or well recognized. Objective This study examined the relationship between the presence of TWI before the event and mid-segment left anterior descending (MLAD) artery lesion in patients with AMI. Methods Retrospective charts of patients with acute coronary syndrome between the months of January 2009 and December 2011 were reviewed. All patients with MLAD lesion were identified and their ECG reviewed for TWI in lead aVL. Results Coronary angiography was done on 431 patients. Of these, 125 (29%) had an MLAD lesion. One hundred and six patients (84.8%) had a lesion > 50% and 19 patients (15.2%) had a lesion < 50%. Of the 106 patients who had a MLAD lesion > 50%, 90 patients (84.9%) had TWI in lead aVL and one additional lead. Of the 19 patients who had an MLAD lesion < 50%, 8 patients (42.1%) had TWI in lead aVL and one additional lead. Isolated TWI in lead aVL had an overall sensitivity of 76.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.65-0.86), a specificity of 71.4% (95% CI 0.45-0.88), a positive predictive value of 92%, a negative predictive value of 41.7%, a positive likelihood ratio of 2.7 (95% CI 1.16-6.22), and negative likelihood ratio of 0.32 (95% CI 0.19-0.58) for predicting a MLAD lesion of > 50% (p = 0.0011). Conclusions TWI in lead aVL might signify a mid-segment LAD lesion. Recognition of this finding and early appropriate referral to a cardiologist might be beneficial. Additional studies are needed to validate this finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • ECG
  • T wave inversion in lead aVL
  • mid-segment LAD lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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  • Cite this

    Hassen, G. W., Costea, A., Smith, T., Carrazco, C., Hussein, H., Soroori-Rad, B., Vaidian, S., Seashore, J., Alderwish, E., Sun, W., Chen, A., Simmons, B., Usmani, S., Kalantari, H., & Fernaine, G. (2014). The neglected lead on electrocardiogram: T wave inversion in lead aVL, nonspecific finding or a sign for left anterior descending artery lesion? Journal of Emergency Medicine, 46(2), 165-170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.08.079