Changes in T-wave morphology following anesthesia and surgery: A common recovery-room phenomenon

M. J. Breslow, C. F. Miller, S. D. Parker, A. T. Walman, M. C. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

T-wave abnormalities occur frequently in postoperative patients. These changes occur with equal frequency in all age groups and do not demonstrate any specific statistical correlation with preexisting coronary artery disease. Furthermore, follow-up of patients with new T-wave abnormalities did not reveal corroborating evidence of ischemic events or myocardial injury. T-wave abnormalities normalized in some patients within 4-6 h and persisted for 24-48 h postoperatively in other patients in whom serial ECGs were available. While the etiology of these repolarization changes remains speculative, we feel that myocardial ischemia may not be the cause of many postoperative T-wave abnormalities and that aggressive intervention may not be warranted in otherwide asymptomatic patients. The authors emphasize, however, that patients at risk for perioperative ischemic events require appropriate monitoring and control of heart rate and arterial blood pressure, regardless of the presence or absence of new T-wave abnormalities. Furthermore, the presence of: new ST segment changes with or without symptoms; or new T-wave abnormalities in association with chest pain, impaired ventricular function, or ventricular arrhythmias should be presumed secondary to ischemia unless alternative etiologies can be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume64
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 15 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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