Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri



Wellens Syndrome: Timely Recognition and Successful Revascularization

Liberatore Imperia Roma(Roma) – Ospedale S. Pertini | Terrinoni Francesca Roma(Roma) – Ospedale S. Pertini | Commisso Cosimo Roma(Roma) – Ospedale S. Pertini

Wellens syndrome is a condition characterized by clinical and instrumental signs suggestive of a critical proximal left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery stenosis and requires early revascularization.

Diagnostic criteria include T-wave changes in ECG during asymptomatic periods in patients with a history of chest pain, absence of significant cardiac enzyme movement, no ST-segment elevation, preserved R-wave, and no pathological Q waves.

Early recognition of this syndrome is crucial, due to its 10-15% prevalence, allowing proper management and myocardial function recovery, avoiding potentially catastrophic outcomes.

A 64-year-old male, with hypertension, undiagnosed diabetes, and family history of CAD, presented to our ER with sudden, brief chest pain radiating to the left upper limb. Similar episodes had occurred in the past week. The patient denied previous cardiovascular events and home therapy.

ECG conducted by the attending cardiologist, during free chest pain period, showed biphasic T-wave in V1-V3 (a). Admission ECG resembled the ambulatory one. Lab results: Hb 14.7 g/dl, Troponin I 0.059 ng/ml (cut-off 0.034). Echocardiogram indicated distal septum akinesia.

Urgent coronary angiography was performed, detecting subocclusive stenosis in the proximal-mid LAD. Successful revascularization was achieved by PTCA and implantation of 1 DES. (b) Subsequently, the patient was admitted to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for multiparametric monitoring. The ECG showed deeply negative T waves from V1 to V6. (c) No complications during hospitalization.

Discharge ECG showed repolarization anomalies improvement. Echocardiography revealed preserved systolic function, without global or segmental anomalies in wall motion.

Wellens syndrome is a manifestation of acute coronary syndrome that precedes an anterior wall MI. This condition can be identified by its characteristic T-wave patterns on ECG.

Patients with this syndrome have severe LAD occlusion and require early coronary intervention. In chest pain episodes, the ECG appears normal, and troponin levels often remain within the normal range, which can potentially provide false reassurance.

Wellens syndrome is a cardiac emergency requiring immediate attention; it is crucial for the physician to promptly identify the typical ECG signs of Wellens Syndrome, facilitating early coronary revascularization to prevent adverse patient outcomes.