Atrial Infarction of the Heart
Six cases of atrial infarction associated with ventricular infarction are presented. All cases were diagnosed during life and were confirmed by autopsy.
A clinical diagnosis of atrial infarction should be suspected in patients with ventricular myocardial infarction having any form of atrial arrhythmia. Frequent electrocardiograms should be obtained, especially if sinus rhythm has just been re-established after episodes of supraventricular tachycardia or atrial fibrillation.
The major electrocardiographic criteria for the diagnosis of atrial infarction are as follows: elevation of the P-Ta segment of over 0.5 mm. in V5; and V6 with reciprocal depression of the same segment in V1 and V2; elevation of the P-Ta segment of over 0.5 mm. in lead I and its depression in leads II or III; depression of the P-Ta segment of more than 1.5 mm. in precordial leads and 1.2 mm. in leads I, II, and III in the presence of any form of atrial arrhythmia.
The minor electrocardiographic criteria in making the diagnosis of atrial infarction are as follows: abnormal P waves: M-shaped, W-shaped, irregular or notched; depression of the P-Ta segment of small amplitude without elevation of this segment in other leads cannot be regarded by itself as positive evidence of atrial infarction.
A diagnosis of atrial infarction can sometimes be made when the presence of ventricular myocardial infarction cannot be definitely established by electrocardiogram.
The treatment of atrial infarction is similar to that of ventricular infarction. Attention should be directed to the control of atrial arrhythmias and to the prevention of mural thrombi.
- © 1961 American Heart Association, Inc.