Background: Coronary vasospasm-induced electrical and mechanical complications in patients with acute coronary syndrome and no hemodynamically significant coronary artery disease are rarely reported. Methods: A total of 733 consecutive patients with acute coronary syndrome admitted to our hospital who subsequently underwent coronary angiography at our institution were enrolled. Patients who had documented complete atrioventricular block or ventricular fibrillation, no evidence of hemodynamically significant coronary artery disease on coronary angiogram, and no other (non-coronary) cardiac abnormalities were included. Patients were followed for subsequent cardiac events and mortality. Results: Over a 6-year period at our institution, acute coronary syndrome complicated by life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias developed in six patients who had no hemodynamically significant coronary artery disease with corresponding intra-coronary ergonovine provocative coronary vasospasm. Acute myocardial infarction was diagnosed in five of these patients and variant angina pectoris in one. Complete atrioventricular block was the most common complication in these cases, followed by cardiogenic shock with or without right ventricular infarction, ventricular fibrillation, and severe sinus arrest. These complications were corrected with intravenous fluid, intravenous atropine or cardiac defibrillation. During a median follow-up period of 26 months, none of the patients expired or suffered nonfatal reinfarction. Two individuals who did not stop smoking during follow-up developed recurrent angina after self-discontinuation of calcium antagonists. Conclusions: Coronary vasospasm can be a cause of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in patients with acute coronary syndrome and no hemodynamically significant coronary artery disease. Coronary angiography with/without intra-coronary ergonovine testing is necessary in acute coronary syndrome patients to identify the underlying pathology and establish appropriate treatment in these cases.
- Acute coronary syndrome
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Coronary vasospasm
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine