BACKGROUND: Optimal treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) depends on the duration of the ischemia. The Anderson Wilkins (AW) electrocardiographic acuteness score has been shown to complement the historical timing in estimating the time interval from acute thrombotic coronary occlusion in patients presenting with chest pain and evolving myocardial infarction. The purposes of this study were to (1) compare the distributions of the previously developed AW acuteness score in a training population with either anterior or inferior AMI and (2) propose modifications to the formula to achieve distributions similar to the observed distributions of historical times from onset of pain.
METHODS: Two hundred three and 177 patients were included as training and testing population, respectively. All patients had an anterior or an inferior AMI and were without confounding factors on the electrocardiogram.
RESULTS: The training population had similar distributions of historical times from onset of pain, but differences in distributions of AW acuteness scores, between patients with anterior and inferior AMI (P <.0001). Eighty percent of the inferior AMI group had the highest possible AW acuteness score. Modification of a Q-wave criterion from > or =30 to > or =20 ms resulted in similar distributions in patients with anterior and inferior AMI both in the training and an independent testing population.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that a modified AW acuteness score using a lower Q-wave duration criterion provides similar AMI timing information in patients with anterior and inferior locations. Clinical use of the AW acuteness score will only be practical if the calculation is automated.