The 27-year-old Commonwealth champion assumed his customary position towards the back of the pack as Alan Webb of the United States established an early lead. But East's customary sprint and racing nous were absent on this occasion - he never looked capable of challenging in a race won by Bahrain's former Moroccan, Rashid Ramzi, in 3min 34.69sec. East was timed at 3:40.27.
It was a hugely disappointing result. Asked if he was OK afterwards, East, whose hand appeared to be trembling, responded: "No. I can't stop. There's something wrong. I need to get it sorted out by a doctor."
Christian Malcolm, who starts his campaign in the 200 metres today, is hoping that he has already sorted out the pelvic problem which delayed his arrival here. The 26-year-old will be joined by Marlon Devonish and they will be particularly keen to get a Briton in the final given the absence of a British athlete from Sunday's 100m final for only the second time in the Championships' history.
Given that there were no British men in any of the individual sprint finals in Athens last year, Malcolm and Devonish have a job on their hands. Malcolm arrives in Finland seventh in the world rankings after he recorded 20.15 seconds at the European Cup in June.
Among those ranked ahead of him, the American 200m Olympic champion Shawn Crawford has withdrawn because of a foot injury and Xavier Carter failed to make the US team.
However, Crawford's replacement Wallace Spearmon holds the two fastest times in the world this year at 19.89sec and 19.91sec, but he is inexperienced.
It is likely to be a young field with the 100m champion Justin Gatlin the oldest at 23 of the leading contenders, who include Spearmon, his American team-mate Tyson Gay and Jamaica's Usain Bolt.Reuse content