Can electrocardiographic criteria predict adverse cardiac events and positive cardiac markers?

Andra L. Blomkalns, Christopher J. Lindsell, Abhinav Chandra, Mary E. Osterlund, W. Brian Gibler, Charles V. Pollack, Brian R. Tiffany, Judd E. Hollander, James W. Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine electrocardiogram (ECG) predictors of positive cardiac markers and short-term adverse cardiac events in an undifferentiated chest pain population presenting to emergency departments (EDs). The authors hypothesized that specific ECG findings, other than those previously identified in higher-risk populations, would be predictive of cardiac outcomes and positive cardiac markers. Methods: This study used data from a prospectively collected, retrospectively analyzed Internet-based data registry of undifferentiated chest pain patients (i*trACS). Logistic regression modeling was performed to determine the ECG findings that were predictive of 1) positive cardiac markers and 2) short-term adverse cardiac events. Results: ST-segment elevation (STE), ST-segment depression (STD), pathological Q-waves (PQW), and T-wave inversion were associated with increased odds of percutaneous coronary intervention or catheterization, myocardial infarction, or coronary artery bypass grafting. The odds of creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) measuring positive were increased if STE, STD, or PQW were present [odds ratio (OR) 2.495, 2.582, and 1.295, respectively]. A right bundle branch block tended to decrease the odds of CK-MB measuring positive (OR 0.658). A similar pattern of results was observed for troponin I (OR 3.608 for STE, 3.72 for STD, 1.538 for PQW). Troponin T showed an increased odds of measuring positive if any of STE, STD, left bundle branch block, or T-wave inversion were evident (OR 2.313, 2.816, 1.80, and 1.449, respectively). Conclusions: Initial ECG criteria can be used to predict short-term cardiac outcomes and positive cardiac markers. These findings can be important aids in the riskstratification and aggressive treatment regimens of chest pain patients presenting to EDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Cardiac markers
  • Chest pain
  • ECG
  • Risk stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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