Pericarditis - ECG

Pericarditis is a very insidious concerning the ECG diagnostics. It occurs more in young individuals who are subfebrile or febrile. In addition, it causes chest pain that successfully mimics the myocardial infarction. Unfortunately, changes typical for an acute STEMI infarction (ST segment elevations) occur also in the ECG record.


Pericarditis - ECGThis is a typical ECG in acute pericarditis. At first sight, we see a clear acute STEMI infarction with ST interval elevations (red). However, we see the pathologies in virtually all leads (except III, aVR and V1) and that is not for typical for a heart attack. 

Conclusion: Sometimes it is a difficult task to distinguish pericarditis from acute myocardial infarction. The pericarditis is usually related to elevated body temperature, younger age, elevated CRP and pathologic ST elevations present in the majority of ECG leads. In addition, the elevated ST segments have somewhat different shapes than Pardee's waves.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources