"New" LBBB - What's the big deal?

Cross-posted to the Prehospital 12-Lead ECG blog and 12-Lead ECG (Cardiography & Electrocardiography Experts)

In the January 2010 EMCast at EMedHome.com, Amal Mattu MD reviews Chang AM, Shofer FS, Tabas JA, et al. Lack of association between left bundle-branch block and acute myocardial infarction in symptomatic ED patients. Am J Emerg Med 2009;27:916-921.

His comments confirm what I have suspected for a long time with regard to LBBB in the setting of suspected ACS.

"This is a really interesting and provocative article that may bust the traditional myth that we should be thrombolysing or cathing everybody with chest pain who presents with a new left bundle branch block."

"They found that there was no significant difference in the rate of acute myocardial infarction between patients that were presenting with a new, or presumed new left bundle branch block pattern versus patients with a known old left bundle branch block pattern […] In other words, when patients presented with a new left bundle branch pattern, those patients did not rule-in at any greater increased frequency compared to the other patients, and based on this data the argument is certainly made that when patients have chest pain and they present with the left bundle branch block pattern, there’s not necessary a need purely based on the presence of a new left bundle to assume that that patient is having an acute MI, and therefore that patient needs to get thrombolytics or go immediately to the cath lab."

"As I mentioned before, there is reasonable data to indicate that if the patient has a left bundle branch block – whether it’s new or old – and they demonstrate Sgarbossa criteria, then those patients do end up ruling-in for acute myocardial infarction […] Simple presence of a new left bundle branch block pattern does not appear to warrant immediate activation of the cath lab or immediate thrombolytics according to this study."

Amal Mattu MD does add the caveat that the guidelines still state that patients with new LBBB are supposed to get reperfusion therapy.

See also:

Identifying AMI in the presence of LBBB

False positive cardiac cath lab activations

Review of Factors Associated With False-Positive Emergency Medical Services Triage for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Sgarbossa's criteria - new graph

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