Surface 12-lead electrocardiographic findings and plasma markers of thrombin activity and generation in patients with myocardial ischemia at rest

Journal Article

Background: Myocardial ischemia at rest is typically associated with atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, atheromatous plaque rupture, and intracoronary thrombosis. In areas of advanced disease and vascular injury, the extent of thrombus is influenced largely by a delicate balance of procoagulant factors, favoring thrombus initiation, growth, and development, and anticoagulant factors, attempting to limit potentially flow-limiting coronary thrombosis. Thrombin, a 308 amino acid serine protease, is considered the most potent procoagulant factor in the setting of acute vessel wall injury, playing an essential role in the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin, accelerating the prothrombinase complex, activating platelets, and stabilizing fibrin polymers. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between electrocardiographic abnormalities and markers of thrombin activity and generation among patients with unstable angina and non-Q-wave myocardial infarction. Methods and Results: In a study of 36 patients (59.1 ± 11.0 years) with myocardial ischemia at rest participating in the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Ischemia (TIMI) IIIB trial, thrombin activity in plasma, as determined by fibrinopeptide A (FPA), prothrombin fragment 1.2 (F 1.2), and thrombin-antithrombin III complexes (TAT) concentrations, were found to be increased significantly when compared with healthy volunteers (p < 0.004). Thrombin generation was also increased modestly compared with age-matched patients with stable coronary artery disease undergoing elective cardiac catheterization. Given that the surface 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) is frequently abnormal in patients with ischemic chest pain at rest and represents a readily available, first-line diagnostic test for assessing disease activity and treatment response, we investigated whether ECG abnormalities and thrombin activity/ generation in plasma were correlated. Twenty-six patients (72%) had ECG changes compatible with myocardial ischemia at the time of study entry, including 18 (50%) with newly inverted T waves (or pseudonormalization), 14 (39%) with reversible ST-segment depression, and 4 (11%) with transient (<30 minutes) ST-segment elevation. Within the predefined ECG groups there were no differences in plasma thrombin activity between patients with and those without confirmed abnormalities. Similarly, there were no differences in either plasma thrombin activity or generation between the predefined ECG groups. Conclusion: Although ECG abnormalities supporting the presence of myocardial ischemia occur commonly in patients with chest pain at rest, they do not correlate closely with markers of thrombin activity and generation in plasma. The diagnostic and prognostic capabilities of these diagnostic tools, considered either alone or together, require further investigation. © 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Becker, RC; Tracy, RP; Bovill, EG; Corrao, JM; Baker, S; Ball, SP; Mann, KG

Published Date

  • 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 1 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 101 - 107

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0929-5305

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/BF01062003