Reliability of the prediction of the location of the culprit lesion from the ECG in totally occluded arteries in case of single vessel disease
ABSTRACT This paper deals with the reliability of algorithms predicting the location of the culprit lesion in a totally occluded coronary artery from a 12 lead ECG recording. Four commercial ECG analysis programs and two specific algorithms were evaluated. Five hundred well documented cases were used for testing. Evaluation of the results reveals that all algorithms perform suboptimal.
Article: Standardized myocardial segmentation and nomenclature for tomographic imaging of the heart: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Cardiac Imaging Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association.Journal of Nuclear Cardiology 9(2):240-5. · 2.67 Impact Factor
Article: Evolving myocardial infarction with ST elevation: ups and downs of ST in different leads identifies the culprit artery and location of the occlusion.Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology 05/2004; 9(2):180-6. · 1.10 Impact Factor
Article: Predicting the culprit artery in acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction and introducing a new algorithm to predict infarct-related artery in inferior ST-elevation myocardial infarction: correlation with coronary anatomy in the HAAMU Trial[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: AimsThe objective of this study is to predict the culprit artery from the electrocardiogram (ECG) by predefined criteria and to compare a new algorithm with a previous one for predicting the culprit artery in inferior ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).Methods and ResultsIn “all-comers” (n = 187) with acute STEMI, with ECG and angiography from the acute phase, the positive and negative predictive values for the prediction of the left anterior descending coronary artery, left circumflex coronary artery, or right coronary artery as the infarct-related artery were 96% and 96%, 65% and 95%, 92% and 97%, respectively. In inferior STEMI (n = 98), positive and negative predictive values to predict the right coronary artery or the left circumflex coronary artery as the culprit artery were 92% and 75% and 75% and 94%, respectively.ConclusionsIn “all-comers” with STEMI, the culprit artery could be predicted by ECG criteria with high predictive values. In inferior STEMI, a new algorithm for culprit artery prediction was successfully tested.Journal of Electrocardiology.
Reliability of the Prediction of the Location of
the Culprit Lesion from the ECG in Totally
Occluded Arteries in Case of Single Vessel
WA Dijk1, AC Maan2, NHJJ van der Putten3, ET van der Velde2, CA Swenne2,
R Hoekema4, WRM Dassen5, JP Busman1
1University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
2Leiden University Medical Center , Leiden, The Netherlands
3Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
4University Medical Center St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
5Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands
This paper deals with the reliability of algorithms
predicting the location of the culprit lesion in a totally
occluded coronary artery from a 12 lead ECG recording.
Four commercial ECG analysis programs and two
specific algorithms were evaluated. Five hundred well
documented cases were used for testing. Evaluation of
the results reveals that all algorithms perform
Invasive treatment through Percutaneous Coronary
Intervention (PCI) of patients experiencing symptoms of
acute myocardial ischemia has become widely accepted.
In case of ST-elevated infarction (STEMI), minimising
the time delay between onset of the symptoms and the
first balloon inflation of the culprit lesion is of utmost
importance for the patient’s
electrocardiogram (ECG) recorded by the alarmed
general practitioner or ambulance nurse is considered the
single most important test for diagnosing myocardial
infarction. Reflecting the electrical activity of the heart,
the ECG is but an indirect indicator of the presence of a
complete arterial occlusion. The consensus reached by
the American Heart Association about nomenclature and
location of the 17 myocardial segments assigns an area of
the myocardium to specific coronary artery territories .
Also the coronary artery anatomy is described in 16
segments by the American Heart Association . In this
study we investigated the reliability of the prediction of
the location of the culprit lesion from the ECG by
commercially available ECG analysis programs handling
the indirect approach and 2 recently proposed algorithms
pinpointing directly to the occluded segment.
In the Netherlands the departments of Cardiology of
the 8 University Medical Centers cooperate in the
Interuniversity Cardiology Institute in the Netherlands
(ICIN). In these centers 4 different commercially
available ECG analysis programs are utilized (Table 1).
Table 1. Commercially available ECG analysis
The participating centers contributed to a database
containing 508 well documented PCI procedures
concerning patients suffering from a single vessel disease
with Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) flow
grade equal 0 and a digitally available standard ECG
recording within a timeframe of maximal 2 hours
previous to the first balloon inflation. In Table 2 the
overall distribution of occluded segments is displayed.
The right coronary artery (RCA, segment 1,2,3,4,16) was
involved in 41% of the cases, the left descending artery
(LAD, segments 6/10) in 42% and the circumflex artery
(LCX, segments 11/15) in 17%. This distribution agrees
well with other publications.
The diagnoses generated by the ECG analysis
programs are grouped according to the affected artery in
Table 3. The relation between the diagnosed injured area
Computers in Cardiology 2009;36:701−704.
of the myocardium and the vessel concerned is defined
by the above mentioned consensus by the American
Heart Association. The left main stem has been discarded
for the obvious reason that the chance that a patient with
TIMI flow grade 0 reaches the hospital in time is
Table 2. Distribution of occluded segments.
4.Right posterior descending artery
5.Left main stem
6.Proximal LAD artery
8.Distal LAD artery
9.First diagonal branch
10.Second diagonal branch
12.Obtuse marginal branch
14.Ramus posterolateralis from LCX
15.Ramus postero decendens from LCX
16.Ramus posterolateral from RCA
Three specific algorithms identifying the culprit artery
and the location of the occlusion were published by Fiol
et. al.  and Tierala et. al. . The latter paper deals
only with the prediction of the RCA and LCX as culprit
artery. For the identification of the LAD (algorithm 1) we
used the results of the Fiol algorithm which states that,
essentially, any ST elevation in the precordial leads that
exceeds ST elevation in the inferior leads is decisive for
the LAD as the culprit artery.
The ECGs from the participating centers were
transformed into one intermediate format: 10 s of the 8
independent leads I, II, V1-V6 with a sample frequency
of 500 Hz as comma separated ASCII values. These CSV
ASCII files were converted to a Megacare-specific
format (Siemens Data Format, .sdf) and imported into the
Megacare database. For each ECG a new measurement
matrix and the corresponding interpretation was
generated based on the built-in GRI interpretation
program by MacFarlane et. al. . For each ECG the
calculated ST-segment amplitude of each of the 12 leads
was exported. These values were then used as input for
the algorithms, programmed in the Matlab environment
according to figures 1 and 2.
Since the description of the original algorithms did not
explicitly define ST-elevation, we defined elevation as an
amplitude > 200 µV in V1 and > 100 µV in all other
leads, measured 60 ms after the J-point.
ST-depression was defined as < -100 µV in all leads.
Isoelectricity was defined as absence of both elevation
Figure 1. Algorithm 2 according to Fiol et. al.  to
decide for RCA or LCX as culprit artery.
Figure 2. Algorithm 3 according to Tierala et. al.  to
decide for RCA or LCX as culprit artery.
Table 3. Diagnoses generated by ECG analysis
programs versus segment coronary artery
No infarction diagnosis
In table 3 the results of the ECG analysis programs are
displayed. The columns represent the artery segments and
the rows the infarcted myocardial area. The rows are
grouped according to the segments that are assigned to
the 3 main vessels . The bottom row of the table shows
the number of diagnoses not containing any reference to
an infarction. The anterolateral segments, denoted by the
AHA committee as a LCX territory, does not show any
preference to any coronary artery. The same observation
can be made for the inferior region, where the
contribution of occluded LCX segments even doubles
that of its own “home” territory.
Table 4 shows the results of the algorithms by Fiol and
Tierala. Columns 3, 4, 5 and 6 relate to the Fiol
algorithm, columns 7, 8 and 9 relate to the Tierala
algorithm (which did not include a specific LAD
algorithm). Columns 6 and 9 display the number of
segments that were not classified as infarction. Both
algorithms lower the misclassifications of the LCX
contribution in the inferior segments, but no improvement
can be seen for the anterolateral region.
In table 5 the sensitivity and specificity of the
algorithms are displayed. The described algorithms 1,2
and 3 perform slightly better than the average of the
commercial products, except the sensitivity for the LCX.
4. Discussion and conclusions
The data originates from patients with
angiographically confirmed single totally occluded
segments. Therefore the resulting diagnosis from the
different algorithms can be analysed in a straightforward
manner. It is remarkable that all algorithms generate a
significant number of non infarction related diagnoses: 9,
20 and 24% respectively. In this study we used the
Table 4. Results of algorithms 1, 2 and 3
commonly accepted definition of ST-elevation and ST-
depression, resulting in a substantial number of non-
classifiable cases for algorithms 1, 2 and 3. As the
electrocardiogram is the single most important test for
diagnosing acute myocardial infarction, this high
percentage of false negatives hampers patient care
Myocardial area | RCA | LAD | LCX
1 2 3 4 16
Inferior (4,10,15) 31 42 13 6
16 9 10
Anterior (1,7,13) 7 2 1
Inferolateral (5,11) 1 3
14 21 8
5 10 7 3
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
19 4 21
3 1 5
4 8 5
2 1 2
51 10 1 12 50 14
64 10 1 12 53 1 23
27 1 11 25 13
7 2 7 2
98 14 14
72 1 13 14
1 4 1 1 1
3 5 5
7 9 4 13 7 2 15
3 3 1 12 2 1 13
9 7 4 8 9 3 9
1 2 2 1 2
Total 171 220 12 105 156 7 125
significantly. Further investigations should take place to
optimise the definition of ST-deviation.
According to expectation, the accuracy of diagnosing
the LAD as culprit artery exceeded that of diagnosing the
RCA and LCX as the artery with the culprit lesion.
Table 5. Sensitivity and specificity of the algorithms
The sensitivity and specificity of the algorithms (table
5) does not identify a superior algorithm. Due to the large
percentage of non classification, the sensitivity and
specificity of the algorithms is rather low, with a
minimum for the LCX. The numbers indicate that, under
the described conditions, substitution of the acute single
vessel disease algorithms in the commercial systems by
the specifically designed ones is not advisable.
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Address for correspondence
University Medical Center Groningen
9713 EZ Groningen