ECG Question #14
A client arrived at the Emergency Room complaining of heaviness in the chest for the past hour. The nurse placed the client on a heart monitor and immediately alerted the physician of the following electrocardiogram (ECG) reading:
The nurse interprets the finding as abnormal according to the following ECG characteristics:
- Premature ventricular contractions are present
- ST segment elevation is present
- Atrial fibrillation is present
- U waves are present
Identifying an acute myocardial infarction is important in ECG interpretation. ST segment elevation along with symptomatic complaints of chest pain is also called ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) and occurs when one or more cardiac arteries are blocked. The blockage will halt supply of oxygen rich blood to the affected area in the heart, which may cause permanent injury and even death. Premature ventricular contractions, atrial fibrillation, or the presence of U waves are not used to identify an acute myocardial infarction.