The electrocardiogram as an adjunct in diagnosing congenital coronary arterial anomalies.

Mitchell Cohen*, Stuart Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Congenital coronary arterial abnormalities as isolated lesions are exceedingly rare. The electrocardiogram, while a reasonable adjunct in the diagnosis of coronary arterial abnormalities, should not supplant a good history and physical examination. Careful attention must be devoted to any signs or symptoms of ischaemic pain in the chest or syncope, which must not be overlooked. Exertional pain in the chest and exertional syncope should prompt an extensive evaluation by both the echocardiographer and the electrophysiologist. Clearance for participation in sports should be curtailed until a complete evaluation has ruled out the presence of any of the following disorders: a channelopathic mutation, a cardiomyopathy, or a congenital coronary arterial anomaly. Major abnormalities in the coronary arteries may present in the first few months of life or remain dormant until the exertional demands of adolescence unmask symptoms of myocardial ischaemia. Congenital coronary arterial anomalies may be analysed in the following major diagnostic groups: anomalous origin of the left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery, anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery from the wrong aortic sinus of Valsalva, atresia of the left main coronary artery, myocardial bridges, and coronary arterial fistulas. The advent of state-of-the-art modalities of imaging seems, at times, to have supplanted the electrocardiogram in making the diagnosis of potentially serious coronary artery abnormalities, especially in asymptomatic patients. However, as is also the case for a detailed history and physical examination, the electrocardiogram provides a potentially insightful look at the coronary arteries. Furthermore, the past decade has witnessed an increase in the use of the electrocardiogram as a screening tool in the assessment of the risk of sudden cardiac death in athletes in high school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalCardiology in the young
Volume20 Suppl 3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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