Resting Echocardiography for the Early Detection of Acute Coronary Syndromes in Chest Pain Unit Patients


Address for correspondence and reprint requests: Vito Maurizio Parato, M.D., 1, via Iris—63100, Ascoli Piceno, Italy. Fax: +39-0736-358649; E-mail:


Aim: The purpose of this study is to assess the ability of resting echocardiography to detect an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) before the occurrence of ischemic electrocardiogram (ECG) changes or troponin-T elevations. Methods: Four hundred and three patients who presented to the emergency room (ER) with chest pain, normal ECGs, and normal troponin-T levels were admitted to the cardiologist-run Chest Pain Unit (CPU) for further monitoring. They underwent serial resting echocardiography for monitoring of left ventricle wall motion (LVWM), ECG telemetry monitoring, and serial troponin-T measurements. Results: An ACS was detected in 49 patients (12.1%). These 49 patients were then subdivided into three different groups based on the initial mode of detection of their ACS. In group A, 16 of 49 (32.6%) patients had ACS shown by echocardiographic detection of LVWM abnormalities. In group B, 24 of 49 (48.9%) patients had an ACS detected by ischemic ECG changes. In group C, 9 of 49 (18.3%) patients had an ACS detected by troponin-T elevations. The shortest time interval between CPU-admission and ACS-detection occurred in group A (A vs. B, P < 0.003; A vs. C, P < 0.0001). In group A, cardiac angiogram showed that the culprit coronary lesion was more frequent in the circumflex artery (11 out of 16; 68.7%) (LCx vs. LAD, P < 0.02; LCx vs. RCA, P < 0.001) and of these 11 patients with circumflex lesions, the ECG was normal in eight (72.7%) patients. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the utility of LVWM monitoring by serial echocardiography as part of a diagnostic protocol that can be implemented in a CPU. Furthermore, echocardiography could become an essential tool used in the diagnosis of ACS secondary to circumflex lesions. (Echocardiography 2010;27:597-602)