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A 75-Year-Old Woman with COVID-19 Pneumonia and Wellens Syndrome Diagnosed by Electrocardiography

George S. Prousi, Jacob Giordano, Patrick J. McCann

(Department of Cardiology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e930125

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.930125


BACKGROUND: There are increasing reports of cardiovascular complications associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Wellens syndrome, or left anterior descending T-wave syndrome, is diagnosed by a pattern of electrocardiographic (ECG) changes that include inverted or biphasic T waves in leads V2-V3.
CASE REPORT: A 75-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with a 1-week history of fatigue and progressive shortness of breath who acutely decompensated, necessitating mechanical ventilator support. Initial lab workup revealed COVID-19 positivity, which was confirmed by repeat testing. A routine ECG obtained during her hospitalization and compared with her baseline revealed diffuse T-wave inversions of her precordial leads, which was highly suggestive of Wellens syndrome. Cardiac enzymes obtained were slightly elevated and an echocardiogram did not demonstrate wall motion abnormalities. The patient was initiated on non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction protocol with heparin infusion for 48 hours and dual antiplatelet therapy, in addition to beta blockade. Repeat ECGs showed complete resolution of Wellens syndrome shortly after therapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Although rare, Wellens syndrome is a significant indicator of left anterior descending artery stenosis and is commonly associated with acute medical illness. COVID-19 pneumonia has been associated with many adverse cardiovascular outcomes, with ischemia and arrhythmia becoming increasingly more common. Diagnosis of Wellens often includes coronary angiography; however, during the current pandemic, many authorities have recommended medical management alone during the acute phase of care, depending on the severity of concomitant illness.

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