Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium. This can lead to ST elevation in all leads. Therefore, it is important to distinguish pericarditis from a myocardial infarction, which has more acute complaints and ST-elevations are limited to the infarct area.
In pericarditis four stages can be distinguished on the ECG:
- stage I: ST elevation in all leads. PTa depression (depression between the end of the P-wave and the beginning of the QRS- complex)
- stage II: pseudonormalisation (transition)
- stage III: inverted T-waves
- stage IV: normalisation
Keep into account that in stage I pericarditis, ST-elevation is present in all leads except in aVR, V1 and III.