Can an Electrocardiogram Detect a Heart Attack?

If it is believed you had a heart attack, your cardiologist may wish to have you undergo electrocardiography testing. This diagnostic testing, which involves running a test known as an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG as it is sometimes called, can help provide your cardiologist with valuable information that shows the overall health of your heart.

What can a Cardiologist Learn from an EKG?

Cardiologists can learn a lot from running a single EKG test. Everything from the size of the heart and where it may be damaged to heart rhythm problems can be discovered with the results provided by this test.

Some of the things that can be discovered from the test results of an EKG include:

  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Electrolyte imbalances throughout the body that cause sudden or severe changes in the heart's activity
  • Insufficient blood flow leading to and away from the heart
  • Inflammation in the sac that surrounds the heart
  • Enlargement of the heart
  • Evidence of injury or damage to the heart

How EKG/ECG/Electrocardiogram Testing Helps in Regards to Heart Attacks

While EKG testing can be used to diagnosis a number of heart problems, it is most commonly used when there is a suspected heart attack. This testing can provide the information your cardiologist needs to determine whether you had a heart attack in the past or if you are currently experiencing one.

Even though this testing is valuable in detecting previous or current heart attacks, it does have one limitation – predicting the future. These tests cannot predict how likely you will be to experience any future heart attacks.

Just because the test cannot predict future heart attacks, it doesn't mean there is no way to predict if one will happen. Cardiologists can use a number of things, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other information obtained from electrocardiography testing, to determine your risk level. If you are at a high risk for experiencing future heart attacks, your cardiologist can provide treatment recommendations and lifestyle changes that may help lower your risk.

Who Needs an Electrocardiogram?

EKG/ECG/electrocardiograms are not considered a part of a routine checkup unless you have some indication that you may be at risk for heart disease.

Your cardiologist or doctor may recommend you undergo EKG testing if you have any of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heavy heartbeats
  • Diabetes
  • Personal history of heart disease
  • Family history of heart disease

In some situations, your doctor may recommend you undergo electrocardiography testing if you have extensive health problems and wish to start exercising. This testing will determine if your heart is healthy enough to allow you to start exercising on a regular basis.

Has your doctor recommended you get an electrocardiogram? If so, call Premier Heart & Vein Care today to schedule an appointment.

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