When are arrhythmias and conduction disturbances markers of myocardial ischemia at rest?

J. A. Salerno, M. Chimienti, M. Previtali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myocardial ischemia, particularly when transmural as in variant angina pectoris, may be associated with ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and paroxysmal atrioventricular block (15%). Syncope (7%) and sudden death (3%) due to these malignant arrhythmias are sometimes a unique marker of myocardial ischemia. Two-hundred fifty-four patients (220 males and 34 females), aged 54 ± 9 years with transmural myocardial ischemia related to coronary artery spasm, were studied. Particular attention was paid to the role of syncopal attacks as unique clinical manifestation of silent ischemia. Patients examined were divided into 3 Groups. Group 1 includes 5/254 (2%) patients with atrial fibrillation during acute ischemia. Group 2 was divided into four subgroups: subgroup A includes 17/254 (7%) patients with syncopal attacks due to malignant arrhythmias (ventricular tachycardia and advanced A-V block); subgroup B, 15/254 (6%) patients with documented malignant arrhythmias, without syncopal attacks; subgroup C, 7/254 (3%) with ventricular fibrillation during acute ischemia and subgroup D, 18/254 (7%) patients with history of syncopal attacks without documented arrhythmias during hospital observation. Group 3 includes 17/254 (7%) patients with left anterior hemiblock in basal condition, 7/254 (3%) patients with left anterior hemiblock and one left posterior hemiblock during acute ischemia and one patient with right bundle branch block during acute ischemia. Syncopal symptoms are present in many of these cases of angina pectoris; paroxysmal A-V block is documented in nearly half of the cases with syncope (65%); ventricular tachycardia is frequently demonstrated during ischemia but leads to syncope in only a few cases; patients with syncope do not present specific clinical features; syncopal symptoms in patients with vasospastic angina pectoris well controlled by Ca++-antagonists or nitrates are not predictors of sudden death. Malignant arrhythmias due to acute myocardial ischemia are more frequently observed in patients with normal or nearly normal coronary arteries. Intraventricular conduction disturbances are very rare during ischemic episodes in vasospastic angina pectoris.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Cardiology
Issue numberSUPPL. A
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'When are arrhythmias and conduction disturbances markers of myocardial ischemia at rest?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this