Atypical Presentations of Myocardial Infarction: A Systematic Review of Case Reports

There is a rising incidence of coronary artery diseases and myocardial infarction (MI). Mortality associated with acute MI (AMI) is directly linked to the time to receive treatment and missed diagnoses. Although health professionals are aware of typical AMI presentation, atypical MI is difficult to diagnose, which on the other hand, is likely to have an impact on morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it is prudent to know such atypical presentations, especially for emergency and primary care physicians. We aimed to systematically evaluate the clinical presentations of atypical MI and analyze them to characterize the common clinical presentations of atypical MI. We researched the PubMed database, did citation tracking, and performed Google Scholar advanced search to find the cases reported on the atypical presentation of MI published from January 2000 to September 2022. Articles of all languages were included; Google Translate was used to translate articles published in languages other than English. A total of 496 (56 PubMed articles, 340 citations from included PubMed articles, and 100 articles from Google Scholar advanced search) were screened; 52 case reports were evaluated, and their data were analyzed. Atypical presentations of myocardial infarction are vast; patients may have chest pain without typical characteristics of angina pain or may not have chest pain. No typical characterization could be done. Most patients were in their fifth decade or above of their life and commonly presented with pain and discomfort in the abdomen, head, and neck regions. Prodromal symptoms were consistent findings, and many patients had two to three comorbidities out of four common comorbidities, i.e., diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and substance abuse. A patient who is 50 years old or more, having comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, history of tobacco or marijuana usage, presenting with prodromal symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, syncope, gastrointestinal discomfort or head/neck pain should be suspected for atypical MI.


acute coronary syndrome; acute ischemic heart disease; acute myocardial infarction; atypical presentation of myocardial ischemia; clinical features of myocardial ischemia; emergency medical service; primary care medicine.

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