Wellens syndrome: a life-saving diagnosis

Kishan S Parikh, Rajiv Agarwal, Amit K Mehrotra, Rajiv S Swamy
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 30 (1): 255.e3-5
The diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome relies on clinical history, electrocardiographic (ECG) changes, and cardiac biomarkers; but within the spectrum of acute coronary syndrome, there exist subtle presentations that cannot afford to be overlooked. Wellens syndrome is one such example, in which a patient can present with both ECG changes that are not classic for myocardial ischemia and negative cardiac biomarkers. The characteristic ECG findings associated with Wellens syndrome consist of deep, symmetric T-wave inversions in the anterior precordial leads. However, Wellens syndrome can also present as biphasic T-wave inversions in those same ECG leads. The associated critical stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending artery carries an immediately life-threatening prognosis if not recognized promptly (Am Heart J. 1982;103[4 Pt 2]:730-736). We describe a case of a less common manifestation of Wellens syndrome (type 1) followed by a discussion of its implications and management.

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