In a retrospective 6 year follow up data were obtained for 536 of 566 (95%) consecutive patients admitted to a coronary care unit with acute chest pain. Their diagnoses were acute myocardial infarction in 290 (54%), myocardial ischaemia in 164 (31%), pericarditis in 16 (3%), and non-cardiac in 66 (12%). Six year mortality was 36%, 24%, 0%, and 16% respectively. In patients with acute myocardial infarction a higher mortality rate during follow up was associated with a higher than average age, a higher than average creatine kinase, previous myocardial infarction, Q wave infarction, and the presence of reciprocal changes. The presence of reciprocal changes was associated with higher than average concentration of serum creatine kinase, indicating more extensive infarction. Infarction complicated by ventricular fibrillation or left bundle branch block was associated with a higher death rate. The electrocardiogram recorded at the time of acute myocardial infarction contains much useful prognostic information.
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