Coronary spasm may occur with angiographically normal and diseased coronary arteries. General anesthesia has been described only rarely as a triggering event for coronary artery spasm, and only once before in the presence of angiographically normal coronary arteries. We have now seen three patients presenting with acute ST-segment elevation following induction of general anesthesia with enzyme evidence of myocardial necrosis in two patients. Cardiac catheterization was performed in all three patients with one of the procedures performed on an emergency basis owing to hemodynamic compromise. All three patients demonstrated angiographically normal coronary arteries. The electrocardiograms and coronary arteriograms are presented, and possible mechanisms for the injury pattern seen on the electrocardiogram are discussed. Coronary vasospasm causing an acute injury pattern on the electrocardiogram can be caused by general anesthesia and has to be recognized promptly and treated appropriately to prevent more serious complications.
(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:2495-2498)