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Anesth Analg. 1998 Jul;87(1):4-10.

Automated electrocardiograph ST segment trending monitors: accuracy in detecting myocardial ischemia.

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Department of Anesthesia, University of California-San Francisco, USA.


Continuous automated ST segment trending devices (ST trending monitors) are included in most new operating room electrocardiography (ECG) monitors to facilitate ischemia detection, but their efficacy is not well validated. Therefore, we compared their accuracy with that of Holter ECG recorders in detecting ST segment changes (both analyzed offline) in 94 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Holter ECG tapes were analyzed using standard criteria for determining ECG ischemic episodes, which were compared with those measured by the ST trending monitors. Overall, 42 ischemic episodes were detected by using the Holter monitor in 30 patients. Of the 42 episodes, 38 (90%) were also detected by the ST trending monitors. Sixteen episodes of ST segment deviation were detected by the ST trending monitors, but not by the Holter. The sensitivity of the three ST trending monitors in detecting ischemia was 75%, 78%, and 60% for the Marquette (Milwaukee, WI), Hewlett Packard (Andover, MA), and Datex (Helsinki, Finland) monitors, respectively, with a specificity of 89%, 71%, and 69% relative to the Holter. Compared with the HP and Datex monitors, the Marquette monitor has the best agreement with the Holter (K 0.64). Conditions in which ST trending monitors may be inaccurate were identified and included the appearance of small R-wave amplitude, drifting baseline, and during periods of conduction abnormalities and pacing. We conclude that ST trending monitors have only moderate sensitivity and specificity (< 75% overall) in accurately detecting ECG ST segment changes compared with Holter ECG recordings. Therefore, sole reliance on ST trending monitors for the detection of myocardial ischemia may be insufficient.


Using Holter recordings as the reference standard for detection of intraoperative ischemia, ST trending monitors were found to have overall sensitivity and specificity of 74% and 73%, respectively. Several conditions contribute to the inaccuracy of ST trend monitoring, and additional modification of their performance is necessary to achieve better agreement with the Holter analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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