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    Old 06-08-2004, 01:25 PM   #1
    kilroy2730
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    Question Abnormal EKG

    About four years ago, I had an EKG in my doctor's office. The nurse called me the next morning and told me it was abnormal and that they couldn't rule out an old heart attack. When I questioned what we should do next (heart disease and heart attack run on both sides of my family, so I have a double-whammy), they told me nothing. I pushed the issue until they finally scheduled a treadmill test with another family doctor in the same clinic. As far as I know, that test came back fine.

    Last week, I went to a different doctor with a pain in my left arm that left my arm feeling weak - and a feeling of someone pounding on the inside of my chest. My BP was also a little elevated. She ran an EKG that came back abnormal. The doctor said my thyroid was enlarged and that could cause the problems with the BP and heart feelings, but the thyroid test came back normal, so she had her nurse call a cardiologist here in town to schedule a stress nuke test, but it's not for a couple of more weeks. She also gave me Toprol XL even though she was not diagnosing me as having hypertension, she said it would help with that along with the feeling I've been having.

    Does anyone have these -- and what could cause an abnormal EKG? Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance,
    Kelly
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    Old 06-08-2004, 07:34 PM   #2
    NineLives
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    Kelly I would kind of take it easy until you have that nuclear stress test. The Toprol should take some of the strain off of your heart and can help relieve angina. Sometimes an abnormal EKG is caused by the leads not being attached correctly, but it can also indicate a heart problem such as blockage. I would keep a record of chest, left arm or back pain and any shortness of breath until then, what you were doing when it occured and whether there was anything that relieved it such as rest and how long the pain lasted.

     
    Old 06-09-2004, 05:53 AM   #3
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    Thank you, NineLives, for your reply. I don't normally post (I just do a lot of "lurking" in the shadows reading!), but I figured someone would have an opinion about my situation - or even gone through it, too. Thanks again!
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    Last edited by kilroy2730; 06-09-2004 at 05:53 AM.

     
    Old 06-09-2004, 06:48 AM   #4
    gigi77
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    5 yrs ago in the er i had a abnormal ekg too. they told me it looked like i had a heart attack. They kept me overnight and did treadmill & echo. Next day they said i was fine and sent me home. This yr i had another ekg and it also was abnormal. They did blood tests and treadmill and again said i was fine. They never really explained why i have this abnormal ekg and its always worried me. But after all the tests come back normal the drs say things are fine. maybe sometimes you can have an abnormal ekg and your heart is still ok

     
    Old 06-09-2004, 07:44 AM   #5
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    Thanks, Gigi!!!
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    Old 06-10-2004, 12:01 PM   #6
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    I hope no one minds, I have another question. Is the stress nuclear test primarily to check for blockage - or will it tell other things, too?

    Kelly
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    Old 06-12-2004, 12:39 PM   #7
    KShortie
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    Wink Re: Abnormal EKG

    I was a medical transcriptionist for fifteen years. As part of my job I transcribed EKG's and stress tests. You EKG can be "abnormal" for a variety of reasons without any underlying cardiac disease. But, cardiac disease has to be ruled out by further testing before you will know. Don't sweat it unless you have to! Good luck.

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 09:59 AM   #8
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    WOO HOO! My nuclear stress test came back "fine" as the nurse put it. Now to just figure out why the abnormal EKG and other symptoms....
    Thanks to all who have responded to my posts!

    Kelly
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    Old 06-23-2004, 11:56 AM   #9
    butterflytrans
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kilroy2730
    About four years ago, I had an EKG in my doctor's office. The nurse called me the next morning and told me it was abnormal and that they couldn't rule out an old heart attack. When I questioned what we should do next (heart disease and heart attack run on both sides of my family, so I have a double-whammy), they told me nothing. I pushed the issue until they finally scheduled a treadmill test with another family doctor in the same clinic. As far as I know, that test came back fine.

    Last week, I went to a different doctor with a pain in my left arm that left my arm feeling weak - and a feeling of someone pounding on the inside of my chest. My BP was also a little elevated. She ran an EKG that came back abnormal. The doctor said my thyroid was enlarged and that could cause the problems with the BP and heart feelings, but the thyroid test came back normal, so she had her nurse call a cardiologist here in town to schedule a stress nuke test, but it's not for a couple of more weeks. She also gave me Toprol XL even though she was not diagnosing me as having hypertension, she said it would help with that along with the feeling I've been having.

    Does anyone have these -- and what could cause an abnormal EKG? Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance,
    Kelly
    Hi Kelly..I'm a little confused from reading your history. First of all, how old are you? Have you had any problems with your heart in the past?

    The fact that your doctor said that something wrong with your thyroid could cause what he saw on your EKG makes me think that what he saw was something called "atrial fibrillation". It can cause an irregular heartbeat, which the patient will often complain of in terms of chest fluttering or "my heart feels like it's beating out of sync"...etc. etc. etc. This condition shows up on the EKG as an irregular heart beat with no "p waves" (i.e. the wave that denotes the atria of the heart contracting).

    Okay, enough of this medical mumbo jumbo...what does this actually mean? Well, there are four chambers to your heart, and the two smaller ones are called the atria (singular is atrium) and the two larger ones are the ventricles. Normally the atria pump in a synchronous beat, but sometimes their electrical signals can become chaotic for one reason or another, so instead of pumping rhythmically, they quiver like jelly. Lucky thing your ventricles can still pump effectively and you don't collapse dead. (if your ventricles begin to fibrillate, however, they have to shock you 'cause you could die).

    Anyway, so why is atrial fibrillation a big deal? Well, because, it can result in an irregular but very fast heart beat. This can lead to things like fainting, heart failure, heart attacks (WAAAAY down the road), but the most concerning risk is that of causing a stroke. So, there are two choices in controlling atrial fibrillation....you can slow the heartbeat down so that it's slow but still irregular, or you can make it regular, but it'll still be fast.

    In your case, the doctor chose to slow the heartbeat down (with Toprol). The reason they did all the other tests is because they're not sure how long this atrial fibrillation has been going on for, and they want to make sure that there is no underlying damage to the heart.

    Does this make sense? Do you have any questions about what I've just explained to you?

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 12:05 PM   #10
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    Hi, butterfly
    I really, really appreciate your reply!
    I'm 38. The only thing I can think of about my heart is in '95 I had a wreck and bruised my sternum - when I went to the ER to have it checked, I thought the nurse mentioned an irregular heartbeat. My family doc never mentioned anything about it, so I've never been too concerned about it. Then the abnormal EKG four years ago. My family doc didn't seem too concerned about it (although when they told me they couldn't rule out an old heart attack, it gave me the willies).
    I've got another appointment tomorrow morning with the doctor who sent me to the cardio and was trying to make a list of questions for her.
    I do have a question, since the stress nuke test came back okay, does that rule out the possibility of an old heart attack?
    Thanks!!
    Kelly
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    Old 06-23-2004, 01:11 PM   #11
    Ladybug1241973
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    I also have an abnormal EKG and had a stress test done which came back normal. I would say have an echo done. That's how they found out I have cardiomyopathy.

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 07:33 AM   #12
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    My doctor is scheduling a 24 hour holter monitor (I think that's what she said) - and an echocardiogram. The stress tests showed that the blood flow to and from my heart were fine. She said the abnormal EKG showed a "possible enlarged left ventricle". She definitely wants to get to the bottom of things!
    Thanks so much for listening and responding.

    Kelly
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    Old 06-24-2004, 04:53 PM   #13
    butterflytrans
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kilroy2730
    I do have a question, since the stress nuke test came back okay, does that rule out the possibility of an old heart attack?
    Thanks!!
    Kelly
    Hey kelly...no problem about the reply!

    Well, what the stress test can rule out is any present defect in your heart's ability to pump and also areas of the heart which are not receiving enough blood flow.....the low blood flow areas are called "ischemic" in medical terms, and these are significant because they can eventually turn in to areas of NO blood flow and result in a heart attack.

    Unless you are diabetic, the chances of you have a "silent heart attack"...i.e. one you don't even feel are pretty slim. If you've had an old heart attack which has done significant damage, it can possibly show up on the EKG as a special type of wave called a q wave....it's not always there, but it can be.

    That said, the fact that your irregular heart beat is now being rate-controlled with Toprol, and that your stress test is normal, what you have to do to prevent any strokes or heart attacks is to optimize your modifiable risk factors. So...the major risk factors for stroke/heart attack are:

    Smoking
    Family history (you obviously can't change this)
    High cholesterol
    High blood pressure
    Diabetes (you can't change this, but you can control it).
    ..and in your case atrial fibrillation

    Do any of those above risk factors other than Afib apply to you?

     
    Old 06-25-2004, 06:20 AM   #14
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    No, I don't smoke, do have a family history of: heart disease/heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. I don't have any of those myself, though, that I know of. Haven't had my cholesterol checked in quite a while, nor have I had a diabetes check lately. I really do appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and let me ask questions!
    Kelly
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    Old 06-30-2004, 11:14 AM   #15
    kilroy2730
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    Re: Abnormal EKG

    It's been almost a week since my doctor told me she was going to schedule a 24-hour monitor and an echo - and I still haven't heard anything! I wonder if the insurance company is balking about it????
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